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Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on

 

Adjustments to the State Highway System

 

February 20, 2003

 

 

Transportation Board Vice Chairman Jack Combo and Members Monte C. McClure and Gary Blick, Local Highway Technical Assistance Council Administrator Joe Haynes, Assistant Chief Engineer of Development (ACE-D) Steve Hutchinson, Transportation Planning Administrator Charles Rountree, Senior Transportation Planner Garry Young, and Secretary to the Board Sue Higgins, met at 1:30 PM on Thursday, February 20 at the Transportation Department, Boise.  Several ITD personnel and Boise County Commissioner Dale Hanson and Administrative Assistant, Road Department, Marilyn Newman were also present.

 

I-86 Business, American Falls.  ACE-D Hutchinson reported that a road closure and maintenance agreement between Power County Highway District, the City of American Falls, and ITD has been signed.  Upon completion of a project to improve the route, programmed in FY06, a system action will be presented to the Board to relinquish I-86B in American Falls.

 

SH-46 Extension, Buhl to Wendell.  District 4 requested proposals from consultants to complete an environmental document and prepare a set of right-of-way plans for the extension of SH-46.  Mr. Haynes said the estimated cost is around $2 million, while only $800,000 is programmed for this work.  The local entities do not have funds for this step.  He believes there are two options:  the STP-Rural Program or exchanging mileage for mileage.  Mr. Haynes does not believe the STP-Rural Program could fund the entire project, but $1 million may be available, meaning ITD would need to provide the other $1 million for the environmental and right-of-way work.  Because he is not sure that option is realistic, he is pursuing discussions with Kamiah Highway District and Jerome Highway District to assume jurisdiction of SH-64 and SH-25, respectively.

 

Mr. Haynes said that District 2 is in the process of improving three miles of SH-64, and should complete the project this summer.  He believes an additional $600,000 to $700,000 is needed for additional improvements and right-of-way plans, and then the highway district may be receptive to acquiring this approximate 12-mile road.  Currently, the local entity is concerned with the lack of right-of-way plans.  He also said that funds may be available in the STP-Rural Program for SH-64 projects.

 

Member Blick expressed concern with a mileage trade due to the cost of the environmental document and right-of-way plans on the Buhl to Wendell route.  He believes it will be difficult to find $2 million for that route, so no work will be done on it.  With a mile for mile trade, District 4 could begin work on the Buhl to Wendell highway as its operations budget allows, according to Mr. Haynes.  In response to Member Blick’s question on the schedule of the transfer, Mr. Haynes stated that the route would be transferred to the state first, and then brought up to state standards.  Member Blick commented that the Board has indicated earlier that a route should meet state standards before ITD assumes jurisdiction of it.  Mr. Haynes reminded him that SH-64 does not meet current state standards.

 

Member McClure expressed concern that if the environmental and right-of-way projects are funded now at a cost of $2 million, it may be several years before improvements are made to the road.  Also, the Environmental Impact Statement would need to be reviewed every three years if no significant work is done on the route.

 

Mr. Haynes asked if the District could start programming projects on the Buhl to Wendell route as funding allows.  He believes Buhl Highway District’s number one priority on the route is climbing lanes on the south side of the river.  Member Blick expressed concern with the environmental issues, as there is a lot of water in that area, and also a rock house that is listed on the historical register.  Mr. Haynes clarified that an environmental document would not be necessary until federal funds are used.

 

Member McClure asked if the right-of-way plans are completed now (using state funds), but not the environmental document, could the route later be classified as a federal-aid highway?  ACE-D Hutchinson responded that the uniform act and federal procedures must be followed when acquiring right-of-way.  What the Department cannot do is pre-prejudice.  We cannot use the fact that we own the right-of-way as a reason to put the road in that specific location.  We can’t pre-prejudice an environmental document.  He added that the results of the feasibility study reduce that risk.

 

Vice Chairman Combo suggested having District 4 review the SH-46 extension and provide a briefing on various issues, including, but not limited to: options and time frames to bring the road up to state standards, the necessity of an environmental document at this time, and impacts to the District.  He added that a commitment was made almost 10 years ago to add this route to the state’s system, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to that effect is in existence, so the Department needs to continue its efforts on this route.

 

Mr. Haynes said that he will work on the relinquishment of SH-64.  Regarding SH-25, he believes the highway district commissioners would be willing to revisit this route, and would be receptive to assuming jurisdiction of this approximately 13-mile highway.

 

ACTION:  Prepare a plan on the feasibility of adding the Buhl to Wendell road to the state highway system and work with the highway districts on the relinquishment of SH-25 – Hutchinson (District 4) and Haynes. DUE: April 8

 

Mr. Haynes questioned the status of the consultant that was selected to complete the environmental document and right-of-way plans for the Buhl to Wendell route.  The consultant has been put on hold.  It was the consensus of the committee to let the consultant go.  Its services would not be needed at this time.

 

Banks to Lowman Highway.  Mr. Haynes stated that Glenns Ferry Highway District currently has a $400,000 project in the STP-Rural Program that has recently been approved by the Tri-Agency for funding in the Forest Highway Program.  This will allow another project to be programmed in the STP-Rural Program, and Mr. Haynes will recommend to his Council that a project on the Banks to Lowman Highway, such as rock bolting, be added to the STP-Rural Program.  He will ask his Council to support this proposal next month. 

 

ACE-D Hutchinson believes District 3’s updated report on this route submitted in November was thorough and addressed a majority of issues raised at the last Subcommittee meeting.  He believes staff is pursuing an on-site visit of the route by the Tri-Agency in July to determine if there are some things that were missed in the earlier project or some work that was not done properly.  He believes acquiring some forest highway funding may be feasible.  ACE-D Hutchinson also believes it would be beneficial to draft an agreement with Boise County for the transfer of the route, possibly in segments.  He added that maintenance would be a factor, and believes ITD may have to negotiate with the County to maintain the route because it will be difficult for ITD to get additional equipment and personnel in the near future to perform the maintenance.

 

In reviewing the District’s report, Mr. Haynes believes the potential $400,000 available in the STP-Rural Program he mentioned earlier would be appropriate for a project on the lower section, from Banks to Alder Creek.  If that portion is brought up to state standards, the Tri-Agency may be more receptive to improving the other sections of highway.  He added that he does not believe the earlier Direct Federal project resulted in a good, maintainable highway.  Rock falls are a significant problem.  Mr. Haynes supported proceeding with an MOU.

 

Regarding drafting a legislative package for additional full-time equivalent positions and equipment to maintain the route, ACE-D Hutchinson believes an agreement with Boise County on the maintenance is more feasible at this time.  He also added that in reviewing the 404 permits, staff did not find any commitments from Direct Federal on the route.

 

The consensus of the Subcommittee was to have a draft MOU prepared for Boise County’s relinquishment of the Banks to Lowman highway in segments.  Vice Chairman Combo suggested the MOU address the entire route, but also include appendices or exhibits in more detail to address the three segments over time. ACE-D Hutchinson recommended completing the draft for the Subcommittee to review and then submit it to the Tri-Agency for its tour on July 21.

 

ACTION:  Prepare draft MOU, for discussion purposes, to transfer the Banks to Lowman Highway to ITD in segments – Hutchinson (District 3). DUE: July 1

 

ACTION: Pursue STP-Rural project in the amount of $400,000 – Haynes. DUE: April 15

 

US-95B, Bonners Ferry.  ACE-D Hutchinson summarized the activities at yesterday’s regular Board meeting.  The City of Bonners Ferry presented a budget proposal for the relinquishment of US-95B.  It is requesting $630,000 from ITD to transfer the route to the City.  The intention is to utilize that money for improvements to the route.  Additionally, Bonners Ferry is asking the Department to partner with it on a visitor center on US-95 in the city.  The Board asked staff to finalize both proposals.  The Subcommittee had no objections to the relinquishment of US-95B in Bonners Ferry.

 

SH-64, Re-visited.  Mr. Haynes believes Kamiah Highway District will be willing to negotiate a transfer of this route.  He said that every road that the highway district maintains intersects SH-64, so this addition to its system will not be a significant maintenance responsibility.  He will continue to pursue the highway district’s acquisition of SH-64.

 

ACTION:  Continue pursuing the state’s relinquishment of SH-64 – Haynes.  DUE: April 15 (status)

 

US-30, Twin Falls.  At an earlier Transportation Board meeting, Member Blick reported that the City of Twin Falls expressed interest in assuming jurisdiction of US-30 in downtown Twin Falls.  The City has discussed this possibility with District 4 staff, and now Member Blick believes the City does not want to pursue this transaction at this time.  ACE-D Hutchinson stated that relinquishing US-30 would be difficult for route continuity.  He supports working with the City on its concerns with downtown traffic and parking.  Member Blick added that once the southeast corridor study is completed, it may be appropriate to revisit this issue at that time.  He asked ACE-D Hutchinson to verify with DE Rigby the City of Twin Falls’ position on US-30.

 

ACTION:  Confirm the status of Twin Falls’ interest in assuming jurisdiction of US-30 - Hutchinson.  DUE: April 15

 

SH-79, Jerome.  Upon the City of Jerome’s request, District 4 met with City personnel recently to revisit the issue of ITD’s relinquishment of SH-79, or South Lincoln, in Jerome, according to ACE-D Hutchinson.  The route has changed significantly over the years and is now within the city limits.  Member Blick believes the highway is in good condition and would not require a lot of improvements.

 

The Subcommittee supported District 4’s efforts to relinquish SH-79.

 

Although the next meeting date was not confirmed, it will be in conjunction with the Transportation Board’s regular meeting, April 17-18, in Twin Falls.

 

The meeting adjourned at 2:40 PM.

 

 

 

___________signed_______________

Respectfully submitted by:

SUE S. HIGGINS

Secretary

Idaho Transportation Board

Page Last Modified: 1/3/2005 2:53:40 PM

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