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State Highway System Adjustments
September 15, 2010
Board Subcommittee on State Highway System Adjustments Chairman Gary Blick and Transportation
Board Members Lee Gagner and Jan Vassar, and Chief Engineer (CE) Tom Cole met
at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at the Twin Falls City Council
Chambers, Twin Falls, Idaho. District 4 Engineer (DE)
Extension of SH-46, Wendell to Buhl, District 4. DE Rigby provided an update on the status of transferring the Wendell to Buhl route to the state system. The local highway jurisdictions have signed the cooperative agreement. The majority of the road was constructed to the standards in place at that time; however, the agreement indemnifies ITD for the sections of roadway where no design plans are available.
DE Rigby confirmed that the necessary right-of-way has been secured, although he noted that the alignment for future improvements had to be re-designed at a couple of places due to complications with right-of-way issues. He believes the road is adequate for now, but will require major improvements in the future. The District will make minor improvements now, such as signing and guardrail. An hourly will be hired for winter maintenance. He also mentioned concern with three structures. Although the bridges are structurally sound, they are narrow, but there may be options to address that without major expenditures.
In response to Member Gagner’s concern that the route does not meet current state standards, DAG Vogt replied that the state has other roads that don’t meet current standards. The department needs to address safety issues, such as signing, but it does not have to improve the route immediately. The main concern is whether the road was built to the standards at that time, and if not, that the responsible local jurisdiction will indemnify the state for the design.
Member Gagner asked if projects to improve the route will be added to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). DE Rigby responded that staff will consider funding projects in the STIP; however, the District has many other needs. Improvements to this route will have to compete for funding with other projects.
Member Vassar made a motion to recommend to the Board that this route be added to the state highway system. Member Gagner seconded the motion and it passed unopposed.
US-93, Twin Falls Alternate Route, District 4. Earlier, ITD signed agreements with the City of Twin Falls, Twin Falls Highway District, and the Filer Highway District to assume jurisdiction of the local roads being improved as part of the US-93, Twin Falls Alternate Route project. DE Rigby said the project is ahead of schedule and should have traffic on it before the end of the year. The District is planning on performing winter maintenance on the route. He requested guidance on the existing US-93 route through Twin Falls.
Member Vassar supported relinquishing the route. Chairman Blick concurred and noted that it is in good condition and functions as a city street. He added that the new US-93 route includes one mile within the city limits; however, the current route is four miles within the city.
Member Gagner asked if the city would expect the state to improve the route or provide financial assistance. DE Rigby replied that no discussions on that have taken place. He added that a portion of the route is in poor condition. It has no curb and gutter. He assumes the city would request some improvements on that stretch.
CE Cole expressed frustration that the state has no leverage now because it already committed to assuming jurisdiction of the new alternate route. The negotiations on the alternate route should have included the relinquishment of the current highway. Member Gagner concurred that negotiations on relinquishing the current route should have occurred earlier.
DE Rigby said an option would be to leave the poor section on the state system as a spur and relinquish the other three miles that are in good condition. He guessed the department may be asked to complete an overlay on that section, which is estimated at $1 million.
Member Vassar expressed frustration that the department usually has to pay to relinquish routes to local entities and it has to finance improvements when routes are added to the state system. Member Gagner concurred and added that the legislature made it more difficult for the state to relinquish mileage.
The consensus of the Subcommittee was for DE Rigby to contact the City of Twin Falls and start discussions on the state’s relinquishment of US-93 upon completion of the Twin Falls Alternate Route.
Member Gagner asked if ITD has other commitments for state system transactions. DE Rigby said agreements are being finalized to add the City of Rocks Backcountry Byway to the state system. The City of Sun Valley has inquired about assuming jurisdiction of the SH-75 Spur.
CE Cole commented that there have been efforts over the years to secure forest highway funds to improve Trail Creek Road, from Sun Valley to Mackay. He cautioned that if the route is improved, the local jurisdictions will undoubtedly request the state assume jurisdiction of that road. That is what happened with the Banks to Lowman highway. Chairman Blick reiterated the need for legislation or some method to make it easier for the state to relinquish mileage.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50 AM.
Respectfully submitted by:
SUE S. HIGGINS
Idaho Transportation Board