Building more than roads and bridges with our tribal partners
May 24, 2023
Respect and understanding can create strong relationships between seemingly disparate groups. Iowa has a rich history of Native American inhabitants. These sovereign nations and tribes continue to have a vested interest in the land and all that it holds. When the Iowa Department of Transportation needs to disturb the land for a road or bridge construction project, our tribal partners are an invaluable resource to help preserve Iowa’s cultural heritage.
When construction season and tourist season collide
May 22, 2023
It sounds like a recipe for frustration. Major repairs are needed to the main transportation artery through a very popular tourist area. As most Iowans know, the road construction season can be intense because good weather to accommodate work is somewhat limited. The same could be said for the summer water sports season.
Here’s the situation. The pavement on U.S. 71 in Iowa’s Lakes region in Northwest Iowa needs to be replaced and the sidewalks on the causeway, which is a short bridge over the lake, need to be updated with safety barrier rail to protect pedestrians. Most of the impacts are to the towns of Arnold’s Park and Okoboji, home to one of the most popular lake regions in the state.
For the Iowa Department of Transportation to provide excellent customer service, we needed to find a way to get nearly $20 million in construction work done while also minimizing disruption to the tourist season. Our team in the District 3 office in Sioux City ramped up communication with both our contracting partners and the community, with a focus on listening to and taking the needs of those in the area into consideration when staging certain aspects of the project to reconstruct U.S. 71.
Getting a fresh start with a new ID or driver’s license
April 24, 2023
It’s just a plastic card, but for those who don’t have a state-issued driver’s license or an ID card, many doors may be closed. One of the things our customers need most is official identification. Opening a bank account, renting an apartment, visiting a doctor or hospital, picking up necessary medications from a pharmacy, or applying for a job all require you to prove you are who you say you are using a state-issued ID or driver’s license.
Many people don’t think about how not having a state-issued identification card or driver’s license can create significant hurdles in navigating everyday society for someone who has been released from prison. For several years the Iowa Department of Transportation has been working with the Iowa Department of Corrections to help people who are incarcerated obtain a copy of their driving record and a list of steps each person needs to clear up any issues. Once released, the individual would take that list to one of the DMV locations to try and sort out the issues.
HIGH-FLYING SAFETY INITIATIVE AIMS TO GET TRAFFIC MOVING MORE QUICKLY AFTER AN INCIDENT
April 20, 2023
When something unexpected like a traffic crash happens, getting first responders to the scene to treat you if you’re injured is the first priority. While this is happening, law enforcement and other first responders, including the Iowa Department of Transportation, are completing investigations and doing whatever they can to get the road cleared so traffic can get moving normally again.
New processes and materials make highway paint more visible and longer lasting
March 22, 2023
When it’s wet, snowy, or icy, it can be tricky to see the painted lines on Iowa roads, potentially making it tough for you to see where you are on the road. Because “Safety First” is one of our core values, our team is constantly working to find better, more durable paint systems that will help you more clearly see paint lines in adverse weather conditions, improving your safety on the road. The focus of the Iowa DOT is the interstate system, U.S. and state highways, so our paint program is geared toward those roads.
Clearing crashes quicker to keep you safer on Iowa’s roads
March 20, 2023
When there is a crash, especially one that involves a large truck, every minute counts to get traffic moving again and keep you safer on the road. Research shows that for every minute that a lane is closed, the risk of another crash in the area goes up by 2.8 percent. At around 30 minutes, the chance of a second crash in the area is very high.
A new program in the Iowa City and Des Moines areas helps us fulfill one of our core values, “Safety First”, by clearing crashes more quickly, especially those involving large trucks, which reduces your risk of being involved in a second crash. The program offers incentives to towing companies to have specialized equipment ready to respond to commercial vehicle crashes.
Bonding over the Bunker Mill Bridge
March 16, 2023
The Iowa Department of Transportation’s 2,700 employees come from all walks of life and backgrounds. One thing we share is a core value of “Servant Leadership.” How this value plays out in everyday life varies, but it tends to spread throughout everything we do, both at work and at home.
New research aims to increase safety for those in and around snowplows
February 27, 2023
Our mission is to make lives better through transportation, which includes looking for ways to make you safer when traveling on wintry Iowa roads, especially when you come up on one of our massive snowplow trucks.
Light it up – testing new lighting for our snowplow trucks
You would think that our very large orange trucks would be difficult to miss, but we still have dozens of them hit from behind every year. In a crash like that, it’s generally the motorist who suffers the most serious consequences. To help you better see our trucks in winter weather, we’re researching new ideas to improve the lighting that is visible when coming up behind one of our trucks.
Plow cam images provide more than just a glimpse at winter weather
January 24, 2023
You know when you have this idea that you think is pretty good, but you have no concept of how it might explode into something much more than you expected over time? That’s what happened with the snow plow camera images the Iowa Department of Transportation began using eight years ago.
Keeping you safe - Iowa’s traffic incident management community gathers to learn from each other
December 13, 2022
You may have heard it said that heroes are the ones who run toward danger instead of away from it. In Iowa, we’re very lucky to have a group of these heroes in the form of responders who work together to get emergencies on the road under control quickly and clear the way as soon as possible for travelers. Their actions save lives. Recently, a group of those heroes gathered in Ames for the 2022 Traffic Incident Management Conference to learn more about how working together at a crash scene can keep everyone safer.