Memo says Idaho’s summer road construction season will stay on track; Work called ‘essential’ if stay at home order issued

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Idaho Transportation Department Chief Deputy Scott Stokes said his agency will roll on with summer road projects.

“At this time the Department intends to continue forward with our busy summer construction program while doing everything needed to protect our staff and business partners from exposure to the virus,” Stokes wrote in a memo dated March 20th.

The memo said it continues to work with the governor’s office and will work to limit the spread of COVID-19.

[Growing valley, growing roads: $767 million earmarked for 143 road projects: what’s up near you]

“We are limiting in-person contact for all aspects of work, which includes working remotely for many of our staff,” Stokes wrote. “We also intend to continue with the advertisement and bidding process for the projects yet to be bid for this summer.”

Stokes notes that even in states that mandated citizens to stay at home, essential services remain exempt from those orders.

“The work of the Idaho Transportation Department to build and maintain our highway infrastructure is considered an essential service. Therefore, we do not anticipate any potential shutdown if a similar order were to be issued in Idaho.”

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The agency told the Idaho Press it would keep working on the project to expand Interstate 84 through Canyon County. That project started in 2018 and should wrap up late this year if it stays on its current schedule. An ITD spokesperson said between one and eight people work on that project at any time, and leaders instructed them to stay at least six feet apart.

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