Idaho Transportation Department
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Mr. Young did an informal rating of STC
2841, Connor Creek to Almo. Even with a generous rating and giving the
route the benefit of doubt, he came up with a rating of 57 out of a possible
100. Because he doesn’t foresee a higher
rating for this route, he said an option may be for the
Vice Chairman Combo mentioned that the rating system was established 10-12 years ago based on Idaho Code. Mr. Haynes said that the economy of the state is shifting from natural resources to recreation and tourism. Due to this shift, he questioned changing Idaho Code and the criteria for the rating system. Because the rating system was developed internally, Member Blick does not believe a change in Idaho Code would be necessary to update the rating system.
Mr. Young concurred that modifications could be made to the rating system without changing the statute. He said that the rating system includes economics as a criterion. He cautioned that a change giving greater weight to recreation and tourism could result in the state providing access to all major recreation areas such as Targhee Ski Resort. Member Blick concurred and believes caution is needed. Mr. Young added that another consideration for the rating system could be how important the road is to the state highway system grid.
Regarding the City of
Vice Chairman Combo asked if staff should review the rating system to give more emphasis to tourism. Member McClure believes tourism is a major factor now. Because there are a number of local roads that score around 57, his preference would be to leave the rating system alone, but if a local public agency improves a route, then consideration should be given to adding it to the state’s system. He is concerned that it may be more difficult to secure public lands or other discretionary funds if the route is on the state’s system.
Commissioner Handy concurred that the City of
Vice Chairman Combo asked if staff should look at what other state parks are not currently accessible via a state highway.
Mayor Christensen thanked the Subcommittee for its time and for the discussion on the rating system. He reminded the group that the importance of a route to the state highway system is a factor, and that this Byway is occasionally used as an alternate route for I-84. He added that tourism in the area is increasing, as is the truck traffic. He doesn’t know if the type of vehicles using the route is a factor, but stressed that heavier vehicles, including recreational vehicles, are using the road. Mr. Young responded that the type of vehicles is not considered, only the number of vehicles.
Member Blick reiterated that this route leads to a state park, and he believes the state should provide access to state facilities. This is a state problem.
The delegation left the meeting at this time.
SH-25, District 4. Mr. Haynes summarized Jerome Highway District’s proposal for the state’s relinquishment of SH-25. The route is approximately 38 lane miles, from the junction of US-93 to SH-50. He emphasized that this is the local agencies’ first proposal and it is willing to negotiate. Member McClure questioned the Highway District’s request for a snow blower. DE Rigby said the District uses a snow blower on SH-25 about every third or fourth year, mainly to knock down snow drifts, particularly where the route heads south and is affected by cross winds. He suggested that District staff visit with the commissioners to discuss this proposal and ITD’s current and projected maintenance costs on the route.
In response to a question on whether this highway has been rated, Mr. Young replied that it has not been reviewed recently.
Member McClure believes Jerome Highway District’s proposal is high, as it totals approximately $1 million. He supports removing mileage from the state’s system, but suggested staff re-negotiate the numbers with the local officials.
Discuss the SH-25 relinquishment proposal with Jerome Highway District –
Transportation Planning Administrator (TPA)
Member McClure suggested that if tourism is not considered in the rating system, staff should consider adding tourism as a factor.
ACTION: Review the rating system and determine if
changes should be made based on changing conditions (specifically economic) since
the system was developed; and provide a list of all state parks that are not
currently accessed by state highways - Young/Rountree. DUE:
Just because $1.49 million has been earmarked for this project, TPA Rountree said that not all of the money has to be spent. He believes getting the project to the point where locals can identify the corridor and work towards preserving it would cost significantly less than $1.49 million. He estimated that work would cost between $300,000 and $500,000, reducing the required match. He expressed concern that a $1.49 million environmental study today is only going to be good for about three years. Additionally, based on the planning act, the cities need to be actively involved in this project, not just the counties.
Member Blick supported spending the minimum amount on an environmental study. He asked if the remaining funds could then be committed to right-of-way acquisition. Depending on the new federal transportation authorization act, TPA Rountree believes that may be feasible. Member Blick recommended spending approximately $500,000 on the environmental study, utilizing the locals’ funds for match, and then providing state assistance for match above the locals’ commitment of $118,500. However, he questioned the legality of spending state funds on routes that are not on the state highway system.
TPA Rountree replied that he
received a legal opinion from ITD’s former Deputy Attorney General
In response to Member McClure’s question on whether the earmarked money would be taken away from the state if it is not used, he was told that the money goes back to the federal government if it is not obligated.
The consensus of the Subcommittee was to complete the environmental study for approximately $500,000, utilizing the locals’ match first and, if needed, provide state assistance for the remaining match – up to a maximum amount; and then, if possible, use the remaining discretionary funds for right-of-way acquisition.
Prepare a proposal as outlined above for the Transportation
Extension of SH-46, Wendell to Buhl, District 4. DE Rigby said he has a meeting scheduled with the local officials on the proposal to extend SH-46 to Buhl. He believes the project is in the locals’ hands. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) states that if the locals secure the needed right-of-way, the state will assume jurisdiction of the route. DE Rigby said that after the right-of-way has been acquired, the District will program state-funded projects to bring the road up to acceptable state standards.
Mr. Haynes added that one of the local entities has hired a consultant to assist with the right-of-way process. They are determining how detailed the legal descriptions need to be so they can negotiate with property owners, so progress is being made with the right-of-way. He believes the local entities are proceeding in good faith.
Member Blick concurred that the MOU should be adhered to. He added that any improvements the local public agencies make to the route at this time should be to state standards.
Proposed Relinquishment of SH-79,
District 4. The City of
the relinquishment of SH-79 with the City of
In response to Member McClure’s question on whether the old US-93 through town will be relinquished after the alternate route is completed, DE Rigby replied that the plan is to not relinquish that route. The state will maintain it as a business loop through town. He added that the city is reluctant to add that route to its system. DE Rigby also mentioned earlier conversations with Director Ekern regarding his philosophy of keeping business routes on the state’s system.
ACE-D Hutchinson expressed concern with trailblazing US-93
down Pole Line and 2400 West until it’s ready for state traffic. He supports helping the locals maintain their
routes until the roads are ready to be added to the state’s system. The consensus of the Subcommittee was to
develop an agreement specifying the state’s assistance to the local entities to
maintain that road while construction on the
Prepare state/local agreement for 2400 West;
and prepare maintenance agreement with City of
SH-64, District 2.
Mr. Haynes reported that Kamiah Highway District is interested in the
state’s relinquishment of SH-64.
Historically, the City of
The meeting adjourned at .
Respectfully submitted by:
SUE S. HIGGINS