The Idaho Transportation Department received a pair of President’s Awards from the American Association of Transportation and Highway Officials on Tuesday for work that included a project on U.S. Highway 12.

The Highway 12 project that was completed in 2018 involved two bridges on the highway between Kooskia and Lolo Pass and repaving the 50 miles between the two structures.

Because the highway borders the Lochsa River, which is part of the National Wild and Scenic River System, the transportation department worked with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to allow fish to be counted and relocated from the water under the bridges. In addition, all the equipment on the project was rinsed before entering the work corridor and inspected to ensure noxious weeds were not transported outside the project area.

The department pushed start dates for paving later into the summer to avoid the peak of rafting season when shuttle buses are in the corridor. This partnership included shuttling pedestrians and cyclists through the corridor during paving.

The bridge plans also used methods to avoid impacting a nearby tribal property.

Doral Hoff, district engineer for the department, said the award could not have been achieved without collaborative efforts.

“Many agencies, individuals and groups came together to ensure not only the protection of the environment, but also to find a successful path forward to achieve the work so people traveling and experiencing the corridor could do so safely and efficiently,” Hoff said.

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