The award was presented to Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) Project Manager Steven Bakker in Washington, D.C. It was previously named the ACEC Project of the Year for Idaho, making it eligible for the national award. The National Recognition Award honors projects demonstrating exceptional engineering excellence at the national level. HDR Inc. was the project consultant.
The $21.1 million Granite North expanded the route to accommodate rapid growth in the area. The project began in fall 2020 and finished in November 2022, allowing traffic to use the new road a full year ahead of schedule. The project featured 1.2 million cubic yards of earthwork, funded through ITD’s GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) program.
The expansion also included 170,000 cubic yards of closely supervised blasting of tough, rocky soils in the area, allowing crews to expand the route to four lanes over Granite Hill. Additional lanes over Granite Hill provide better mobility, and frontage roads improve safety by routing drivers to improved intersections to enter US-95.
Although the project involved more than 60,000 hours of work time, there were zero OSHA incidents or infractions due to a highly collaborative and proactive “see something, say something” safety mentality. The work improved safety by reducing direct access to the highway and guiding drivers via frontage roads to the best spot for traffic to turn onto the highway. Crews also installed new signage, completed landscaping, and added rumble strips to help in the safety of drowsy or wayward drivers.
“We first won the statewide Engineering Excellence award from ACEC of Idaho in April 2023," Bakker said. "Just prior to that we learned that this project would also get the national recognition award in Washington, D.C. It’s very cool to have a relatively small job in rural Idaho be recognized on the national stage."