Byway competes for national award

North Idaho Bikeways would reap windfall if project wins

The Sand Creek Byway is up for a national award with the proceeds going to North Idaho Bikeways. (DAILY BEE FILE PHOTO)

SANDPOINT — Vote early and vote often.

The Sand Creek Byway is among 10 projects nationwide vying for America’s Transportation Award.

The 2.1-mile U.S. Highway 95 realignment project opened in July 2012 and is being considered for ahead-of-schedule completion.

The project is being considered for the $10,000 grand prize and the $10,000 people’s choice award. If it wins either or both awards, the prize money will be awarded to North Idaho Bikeways, a nonprofit created in 1995 to establish a network of bike and pedestrian trails connecting with surrounding communities.

The Bonner County Area Transportation Team recommended that the trail organization be named beneficiary of the awards if the byway wins.

The Idaho Transportation Department nominated the byway for America’s Transportation Award due to the size and complexity of the $106 million rerouting project.

“We had a number of major factors in completing it and still we were able to complete it ahead of schedule,” said Mel Coulter, a spokesman at ITD’s Office of Communications in Boise.

Those factors included wetlands mitigation, a tight construction zone, a large archaeological excavation and a prodigious amount of public involvement.

“One of the things that we’re really hoping for — frankly and not for our benefit — is to get as many people as possible to embrace the nomination and to vote for it as an outstanding project,” Coulter said.

The American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began the award program in 2008 to honor projects that were completed ahead of schedule, under budget or use innovative practices.

People can influence the people’s choice award by pointing their web browser to http://americastransportationawards.org and clicking on the VOTE NOW button to access an official ballot.

Individuals can vote up to 10 times a day through Wednesday, Oct. 2.

“This has the potential to be one of those national winners,” Coulter said of the byway.

It was announced at the Western Association of State Highway & Transportation Planners’ annual meeting in August that the byway was in the top 10 list of finalists for America’s Transportation Award. The bypass will go up against projects in California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Rhode Island.

The winner of the contest is slated to be announced on Oct. 20 at the AASHTO annual meeting in Denver.

The bypass has already won a dozen honors. They include the AASHTO Excel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Involvement, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Project of the Year and the Top Project award from the Idaho Business Review.

“It’s probably our most heralded or most rewarded highway project,” said Coulter.

Twenty-four states entered a collective 36 projects in the national competition. The 10 finalists received the highest number of overall points during four regional AASHTO meetings this summer representing each part of the country.

“We’re in prestigious company,” Coulter said.

Read More News

Inventive LPOSD educators expand standard curricula

June 26, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — From grade school to high school, the staff of Lake Pend Oreille School District is experimenting with new approaches to education. Program leaders presented information on...

Read More

Apparent conflicts of interest may dog Tesla-SolarCity deal

AP

June 26, 2016 at 10:17 am | There's a lot about Tesla Motors' offer to buy SolarCity that's difficult to understand, including the motives of Elon Musk, a polarizing billionaire who is the chairman and largest shareholder of...

Read More

Fallujah fully liberated from IS group, Iraqi commander says

AP

June 26, 2016 at 11:05 am | A senior Iraqi military commander has declared the city of Fallujah to be "fully liberated" from the Islamic State group, giving a major boost to the country's security and political leadership in...

Read More

What investors will be looking at with UK voting to leave EU

AP

June 26, 2016 at 9:01 am | Trillions of dollars in wealth evaporated on Friday as markets from Hong Kong to Istanbul, to London to New York, plunged as a result of the vote for the U.K. to leave the EU

Read More