The Jefferson County Road and Bridge Department has been named a 2019 Innovation Idea Award Winner by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC).

The award was given for a mobile repeater system that allows road crews to work greater distances apart with better communications.

Two-way radios used by flagging and construction crews can be unreliable due to distance or the terrain, according to county public works administrator Dave Walrath. Lack of clear communication puts both the public and employees at risk.

The mobile repeater improves radio communication on road projects, especially between flaggers at each end of the construction. Because the system is mobile, it can move with the project as road work progresses, and allows workers to be farther apart. The project cost about $5,000.

“Our road and bridge department has shown outstanding innovation in improving safety and efficiency through better communications,” county commissioner Scott Hancock said. “We are very proud of their fine work.”

A formal award will be presented at the Idaho Association of Counties meeting in the fall. Jefferson County will also have the opportunity to host an LHTAC class, with lunch, at a discounted rate. The classes are designed to teach county employees about various topics, public information officer Rebecca Squires said. In all, nine innovations from around Idaho were recognized.

“It’s very cool to have Jefferson County recognized in this way,” Squires said.