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Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on

 

State Highway System Adjustments

 

April 18, 2012

 

 

Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on State Highway System Adjustments Chairman Lee Gagner and Idaho Transportation Board (ITB) Chairman Jerry Whitehead, Vice Chairman Jim Coleman, and Members Julie DeLorenzo, Jim Kempton, and Dwight Horsch met at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at the Idaho Transportation Department, District 2 Office, Lewiston, Idaho. Chief Engineer (CE) Tom Cole, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Larry Allen, Executive Assistant to the Board Sue Higgins, Chief Operations Officer Paul Steinman, District 1 Engineer (DE) Damon Allen, Transportation Planning Specialist (TPS) Mary Lockwood, and Local Highway Technical Assistance Council Administrator Lance Holmstrom were also present. DE3 Dave Jones and Senior Budget Analyst (SBA) Joel Drake participated in the first three items via video conference.

 

 

Proposed Relinquishment of I-84Business, Caldwell and Nampa, District 3. DE3 Jones summarized the City of Nampa’s proposal to assume jurisdiction of approximately 7 miles of I-84B in exchange for ITD re-aligning SH-45. A preliminary cost estimate for the approximately 2-mile SH-45 project is $25 million, but DE3 Jones stated that it may take years to re-align the route due to the time-consuming process to complete an environmental impact statement. The City is still very interested in the proposal; however, there was no new information to provide at this time.

 

Similarly, DE3 Jones said the City of Caldwell has also initiated a proposal to assume jurisdiction of I-84B in Caldwell. The City’s proposal includes widening ½ mile of US-20 at the City’s expense. The City is pursuing that project because of economic opportunities that would result from an improved and widened highway. Additionally, it is requesting that ITD widen additional mileage of US-20 in exchange for the City accepting jurisdiction of the approximately 8-mile I-84B. DE3 Jones believes this proposal has merit and recommends putting a project in the discretionary program. The estimated cost is $12 million.

 

 

Proposed Relinquishment of I-84B, Glenns Ferry, District 3. DE3 Jones said some legislators approached him about relinquishing the 1.4 mile I-84B in Glenns Ferry in exchange for ITD adding ramps to the half interchange on I-84 at Exit 120 at Glenns Ferry. The construction project is estimated to cost $5 million. This was an informational item.

 

 

Proposed Relinquishment of I-84B, Mountain Home, District 3. DE3 Jones also wanted to inform the Subcommittee of a possible transaction related to the I-84B route in Mountain Home. Legislation passed in 2012 provides funding to routes that connect rail sidings with hazardous waste facilities. ITD will receive approximately $24,000 in FY13, $48,000 in FY14, and $120,000 in each fiscal year thereafter. These funds would be directed to SH-167 and SH-78 which link the rail siding to US Ecology. He would like to pursue assuming winter maintenance of SH-167 from Mountain Home Highway District in exchange for the highway district assuming jurisdiction and ownership of I-84B and a remnant of old US-30 west of Mountain Home. The number of miles is undetermined at this time, as are the potential operations costs.

 

Subcommittee Chairman Gagner commended DE3 Jones for the innovative approach. He asked for more information on the legislation. DE3 Jones responded that he believes the legislation was initiated to provide assistance to the local entity responsible for Simco Road. Currently, the impacted state highways are in fairly good condition; however, he believes the money could be saved over time to fund a large, expensive project.

 

Member Horsch asked if the legislation is specific to US Ecology or if it is a statewide program, and, if it only applies to that specific site, what is the intent if additional waste sites are established elsewhere in the state? ITB Vice Chairman Coleman asked about the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

 

SBA Drake said hazardous waste haulers pay a per-ton fee. Through June 30, 2012 fees are distributed 95% to the General Fund and 5% to affected Counties. The distribution of these fees is being changed by SB-1313.  Starting July 1, 2012, the legislation phases-in a new distribution formula over three years that culminates on July 1, 2014 (the start of FY15) with distributions set at 85% General Fund, 5% Counties, 5% County Highway Districts (local highway jurisdictions), and 5% to the State Highway Account (ITD).  

 

The consensus of the Subcommittee was for DE3 Jones to pursue this proposal; however, it would like additional information on the legislation. It also expressed support for DE3 Jones to continue pursuing transactions for the other three routes discussed.

 

 

Director Brian Ness and DE2 Jim Carpenter joined the meeting.

 

 

New Business. While DE3 Jones was available via video conference, Member Whitehead asked for an update on the Banks to Lowman Highway. DE3 Jones provided a history of this route. ITD has an agreement with Boise County to add the approximately 34-mile route between SH-55 and SH-21 to the state highway system in segments, as improvements are made to the road. A couple of projects - the Davey’s Bridge replacement and rockfall mitigation - are scheduled to begin this year. He believes the first two segments may be ready to transfer in two years; however, it will take time to secure funding to improve the other segment. He added that the District is preparing for this transaction. A maintenance facility will be established in the Garden Valley area.

 

 

Proposed Relinquishment of Old US-10, Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, District 1. ITB Vice Chairman Coleman indicated that the City of Coeur d’Alene is still interested in assuming jurisdiction of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive. DE1 Allen provided history on this route. As a result of the construction of I-90, the approximately 5.5 miles of old highway no longer function as a state route and dead-ends. ITD conducted document research on ownership (i.e. in fee, easement) and a plan to convey the road to the City. The City is reviewing the draft agreement and intends to provide its comments soon. ITD made a cash offer of $2.5 million based on 10 years of maintenance costs plus 20-years of improvements. The District has submitted this project for funding in the updated Highway Investment Program.

 

Subcommittee Chairman Gagner commended DE1 Allen for his efforts on this complex issue.

 

 

Proposed US-2 “Curve” Project, Sandpoint, District 1. DE1 Allen provided the history on the intent to re-align US-2 in Sandpoint to remove traffic from downtown Sandpoint upon completion of the US-95, Sandpoint Byway project. ITD has right-of-way from an old railroad track that is being considered for a new US-2 connection to US-95. The estimated cost is $7 million. The City of Sandpoint would like jurisdiction of the current state highways in downtown and has agreed to assume jurisdiction upon construction of the “Curve” project.

 

Some discussion was held on the alternatives for the US-2 project, including a two-way couplet with a roundabout. ITB Chairman Whitehead expressed concern with the truck traffic. DE1 Allen replied that local truckers formed a coalition to participate in this process and ensure their concerns are heard and addressed. DE1 Allen added that this item is informational at this time; however, the City is anxious to proceed and ITD will need to identify funding soon.

 

 

Policies/Procedures. TPS Lockwood distributed the current Board and Administrative Policies, B- and A-09-06, State Highway System Adjustments, and reviewed the procedures to address state highway system actions.

 

DAG Allen summarized Idaho Code regarding this topic. Section 40-310(1) states that when the Board abandons a state highway in favor of a new highway or relocates a state highway, the Board will hold a public hearing. Some discussion was held on steps  required for abandonments and to what extent that can be delegated. ITB Vice Chairman Coleman asked if the notice provisions contained in Section 40-310(1) are inconsistent with Section 40-203(b) which basically states that the Board cannot abandon a highway unless the impacted local public agency agrees to assume jurisdiction of that route. DAG Allen concurred that  Section 40-310(1) should be updated to reflect the more recent procedures for relinquishing highways to local entities set forth in 40-203(b). The consensus of the Subcommittee was to have staff explore legislation to clarify Idaho Code or correct the inconsistencies in the two statutes.

 

Discussion on the internal process was also held. DAG Allen stated that staff is reviewing the current policies and procedures. Subcommittee Chairman Gagner suggested establishing a checklist or template outlining the process for transactions.

 

TPS Lockwood distributed information on the current ratings for state highways and their ranking statewide. She expressed concern with some of the criteria, noting its subjectivity. Additionally, there is some redundancy with Average Daily Traffic and Vehicle Miles of Travel. She would like to refine the rating criteria and align it with the Department’s Strategic Plan, with more emphasis on safety and economic issues. She added the intention is to score the business loops and spurs in the near future.

 

The consensus of the Subcommittee was to revise the policies and rating system. Subcommittee Chairman Gagner thanked TPS Lockwood for her efforts.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.

 

 

________signed_____________

Respectfully submitted by:

SUE S. HIGGINS

Executive Assistant & Secretary

Idaho Transportation Board

Page Last Modified: 5/22/2012 11:44:45 AM

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