Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on


Adjustments to the State Highway System


April 17, 2003



Transportation Board Vice Chairman Jack Combo and Members Monte C. McClure, Gary Blick, and John McHugh, and 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 10 AM on Thursday, April 17 at the Twin Falls City Council Chambers.  Several local elected officials and District 4 Engineer (DE) Devin Rigby were also present.


Member McClure was asked to be the chairman of the Subcommittee.  He accepted that appointment.


SH-46 Extension, Buhl to Wendell.  DE Rigby outlined a preliminary estimate to bring this 13.5 mile route up to acceptable state standards.  Initial work for minimal conditions is estimated at $2.5 million and consists of shoulder improvements and pavement widening by state forces ($150,000), upgrading signing and correcting mileposts ($60,000), overlaying the full length of the route by contract ($2,000,000), and improving the railroad crossing ($280,000).  The state force work is similar to recent improvements made to US-30 west of Buhl.  Additional projects to replace bridges and culverts, improve the Rex Leland/Bob Barton intersection, and construct a climbing lane on the south side of the river could be programmed in the future.  He said that the locals have a project in FY05 in the STP-Local Rural Program to correct vertical curves south of Wendell.  The project is one mile long and estimated to cost $900,000.


Member Blick believes the City of Buhl has property at the southern terminus that may be available for this extension.  DE Rigby said that issue was addressed in the feasibility study.  In response to Member McClure’s question on an environmental impact statement (EIS), DE Rigby replied that if state resources are used to improve the road, an EIS would not be necessary.


Member Blick asked if there is sufficient right-of-way to construct a passing lane on the south side of the river.  Harold Miller, Buhl Highway District Road Foreman, responded that there is enough right-of-way.  Member McClure asked about the 90-degree turns on the route.  Mr. Miller replied that the Rex Leland/Bob Barton intersection is a four-way stop.  DE Rigby admitted that the stop signs are a concern, but for the time being, he does not propose correcting that.  Member McClure asked if truck traffic will have problems turning at that intersection.  Member Blick said traffic from the west may have some difficulty making the turn, but overall, he does not believe the turning radius will be a problem.


Member McClure questioned the environmental concerns on the south side because of water and the springs.  ACE-D Hutchinson responded that environmental issues should not be a problem if state funds are used.


Mr. Miller expressed concern with safety on the south end and believes passing lanes are needed.


Vice Chairman Combo provided a brief history of this route.  He indicated that previous discussions focused on the route being brought up to state standards prior to ITD assuming jurisdiction of it.  Now the discussion is to add the route to the state system first, and then the state would bring it up to acceptable standards.  DE Rigby concurred that adding it to the state system first is now being proposed.  He added that the route functions as a state highway.


Member Blick asked if the entire route would be added to the state system initially, or if it would be added in increments.  He expressed concern that if the entire route is added at this time, it will take some time for the whole system to be brought up to standard.


Member McHugh asked if the local officials have acquired right-of-way.  Marvin Cox, Buhl Highway District Commissioner, replied that their budget is very limited, and the highway district does not have sufficient resources for that.  Member McClure commented that the locals’ acquisition of right-of-way was part of an earlier proposal.


Member McClure thanked DE Rigby for the information and said the Subcommittee will take it under advisement.  ACE-D Hutchinson said the Board’s tour tomorrow includes traveling the route.  The Board will also view the improvements made to US-30 west of Buhl, which are similar to what DE Rigby is proposing for the Buhl to Wendell route.  Member McClure requested that this topic be on the agenda at the next Subcommittee meeting.


SH-25.  Mr. Haynes reported that he discussed the state’s relinquishment of SH-25 with the impacted local officials.  The Jerome Highway District is receptive to assuming jurisdiction for portions of this route, from SH-50 to US-93.  He believes the next step is for DE Rigby to meet with the officials to discuss their needs and concerns, and to draft a proposal for the transfer of the highway.


TPA Rountree questioned the local officials’ motivation to assume additional mileage.  Mr. Haynes said the route does not function as a state highway and are small, piece-meal segments.  He believes the state’s relinquishment of this route will help the Buhl to Wendell highway transaction.


US-30, Twin Falls.  As a follow-up to the February 2003 Subcommittee meeting, ACE-D Hutchinson confirmed that the City of Twin Falls is no longer interested in assuming jurisdiction of US-30 in Twin Falls.  The primary reason is concerns with connectivity.


Banks to Lowman Highway.  ACE-D Hutchinson said that $400,000 is available in the STP-Local Rural Program for a project on this route.  He said that preliminary engineering, estimated at $50,000, and the match are issues that need to be addressed.  Mr. Haynes confirmed that the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council authorized funding a project on the Banks to Lowman highway.   He believes the Tri-Agency Group is a key factor on this route.  ACE-D Hutchinson added that the District is working with Boise County on cost estimates and also on the feasibility of conducting an origin/destination study.


Member McHugh believes Boise County should levy taxes for road improvements.


Member McClure questioned the status of the draft MOU to transfer this route to the state.  ACE-D Hutchinson responded that staff is working on it and should have a draft available for the Subcommittee to review prior to the July 21 Tri-Agency tour, which will include this route.


SH-64.  Mr. Haynes reported that he had additional discussions with the Kamiah Highway District foreman on cost estimates and related concerns on the state’s relinquishment of SH-64.  The local officials are not interested in assuming jurisdiction of this route.  


US-95B, Bonners Ferry.  Staff is programming a project in FY05 for the US-95 Business Route in Bonners Ferry to facilitate the state’s relinquishment of the route, according to ACE-D Hutchinson.  He said that District 1 is continuing its efforts with the City on this and other proposals.


New Business.  Member McClure mentioned that Nampa City Engineer Paul Raymond expressed an interest in adding the I-84 business route to the City’s system.  The route functions as a local road.  If it were relinquished, he believes the state would need to provide a connection from SH-45 and SH-55 to the interstate.  Franklin Road and the Karcher Interchange project may be options for SH-45 and SH-55, respectively.  He added that he has not discussed this proposal with City of Caldwell officials, so he does not know if they would be receptive to this proposal.


The next meeting was tentatively set for July 16 in Coeur d’Alene.


The meeting adjourned at 11:10 AM.





Respectfully submitted by:



Idaho Transportation Board