State Highway System Adjustments
May 19, 2011
Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on State Highway System Adjustments Chairman Gary Blick and Transportation Board Members Lee Gagner, Jim Coleman, and Jerry Whitehead met at 7:55 AM on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at the Idaho Transportation Department, District 4 Office, Shoshone, Idaho. Chief Engineer (CE) Tom Cole, District 4 Engineer (DE) Devin Rigby, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Larry Allen, Executive Assistant to the Board Sue Higgins, Local Highway Technical Assistance Council representative Jerry Flatz and a number of Cassia County officials were also present. DE3 Dave Jones and Intermodal Planning Manager Sonna Lynn Fernandez participated via video conference.
STC-2841, SH-77 to Almo/City of Rocks Backcountry Byway, District 4. DE Rigby summarized the discussion at the last Subcommittee meeting regarding transferring this route to the state. Cassia County would perform the winter maintenance on the City of Rocks Backcountry Byway after the state assumes jurisdiction of the route. The County submitted a proposal whereby it would receive credit for its maintenance efforts to be used to acquire surplus equipment from ITD. DE Rigby now proposed giving two surplus trucks to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDP&R). The County has a working agreement with IDP&R and would be able to use that equipment. DE Rigby also suggested reviewing the maintenance agreement with Cassia County in five years.
CE Cole stated that giving the trucks to IDP&R would not set a precedent. ITD currently gives surplus equipment to other state agencies.
Member Gagner asked why the agreement would be reviewed in five years. He noted that both Cassia County and ITD have limited resources. Chairman Blick believes the agreement should be reviewed at some point in time. He does not believe it would be fair for the agreement to be in perpetuity.
In response to Member Gagner’s question on whether it is common to review maintenance agreements periodically, CE Cole replied yes. He added that usually there is not a specified time for the review, but rather, general language is incorporated in the agreement stating that it can be reviewed by either party at any time. Additionally, there is an “out” clause in the agreement for both parties.
Member Whitehead asked if the surplus trucks will have five years of life in them. DE Rigby believes they would. Member Whitehead suggested providing two additional surplus trucks in five years.
Cassia County Chairman Dennis Crane emphasized the importance of keeping the road open in winter. The County would like some mechanism to review the agreement in the future. The County will receive less money from the Highway Distribution Account because it will have fewer miles on its system. He believes the two surplus trucks are a fair trade for the lost revenue.
Chairman Blick supported the general language indicating the agreement could be reviewed at the request of either party rather than a specified period such as five years.
CE Cole suggested considering the conditions for the review. Right now the road is not a state highway. DAG Allen questioned a remedy for either party. DE Rigby replied that the Elba-Almo highway would be a low priority for the District. The District may not provide the level of service that the County had been providing, which brings both parties to the negotiating table.
Member Gagner made a motion to provide two surplus trucks to IDP&R and to proceed with finalizing the maintenance agreement with Cassia County. Member Coleman seconded the motion and it passed 3-0 with Chairman Blick casting the third vote.
Proposed Addition of SH-16 Extension, District 3. CE Cole summarized the plans to extend SH-16 south to I-84 through the GARVEE Program; however, only two miles of construction will be completed. It is anticipated that this new highway from SH-44 south to US-20/26 will be added to the state highway system.
Member Gagner made a motion directing staff to prepare a resolution requesting the addition of the SH-16 extension to US-20/26 to the state highway system for the full Board’s consideration. Member Whitehead seconded the motion and it passed 3-0 with Chairman Blick casting the third vote.
Proposed Addition of US-95, Sandpoint Byway, District 1. CE Cole said the completion of the US-95, Sandpoint Byway project, currently under construction, will remove through-traffic from downtown Sandpoint. The Byway is expected to open for traffic this fall. The project will add approximately two miles to the state highway system; however, the District has been discussing relinquishing the current US-95 in town to the City of Sandpoint.
Member Coleman made a motion directing staff to prepare a resolution requesting the addition of the US-95, Sandpoint Byway to the state highway system for the full Board’s consideration. Member Gagner asked if the old US-95 will be relinquished to the City of Sandpoint. Member Coleman replied that the motion only addresses the new alignment, the Sandpoint Byway. Member Gagner seconded the motion and it passed 3-0 with Chairman Blick casting the third vote.
US-2, in Sandpoint, District 1. CE Cole said the City of Sandpoint is funding an alternative design and concept report to remove through traffic from downtown Sandpoint by re-routing US-2. No construction funds have been identified; however, upon completion of the realignment, known as “the curve” project, the intent is to relinquish the old US-2 route in town to the city. He noted that the full Board has already authorized staff to proceed with the study.
Revisions to Board Policy B-09-06, Adjustments to the State Highway System. In an effort to improve coordination with local public agencies on state highway system adjustments when new alignments or alternate routes are being considered, CE Cole proposed revising Board Policy B-09-06, Adjustments to the State Highway System. Language would be incorporated into the policy instructing staff to negotiate with the appropriate local public agency on the relinquishment of the old route prior to approving the new project in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). He believes it is imperative to negotiate when ITD has leverage, which is before an alternate route or bypass is constructed.
Chairman Blick expressed support for this revision. He believes negotiations need to occur early in the process.
CE Cole added that once a project is in the Early Development Program, if a system action is required, the project should not advance into the STIP until a local agreement is in place. He added that in some cases, some preliminary work will have to be done on the proposed project before the Department can approach the local public agency.
The Subcommittee members expressed support for this change. Some discussion followed on other minor changes to the policy.
The consensus of the Subcommittee was to proceed with finalizing the policy and then present the revised policy to the full Board for consideration.
ACTION: Cole DUE: June 2011
The meeting adjourned at 8:55 AM.
Respectfully submitted by:
SUE S. HIGGINS
Executive Assistant & Secretary
Idaho Transportation Board