ITD News
Associated Press
News Link

Board considers use of consultants, rest stop program

The Idaho Transportation Board held extensive discussions with staff on three topics when it met Feb. 25 in a workshop at ITD Headquarters in Boise. Workshop topics were: the use of consultants, funding of new and maintenance of existing rest areas, and access management.

ITD staff worked with consultants to prepare an array of information about the department’s use of consultants, focusing on their work in the Division of Highways. Topics ranged from the selection and negotiation processes to consultant costs (including overhead rates, consultant accountability and maintaining project schedules).

After considerable discussion on establishing a special Rest Area Program for the construction of new rest area facilities, the board reached consensus to build two new facilities every four years. The board wants to revisit the priorities for new rest areas at a future meeting. District engineers recommended the following routes for new rest areas:

  • U.S. 20, Mountain Home to the Idaho 75 junction, District 4
  • U.S. 93, Hollister area, District 4
  • Idaho 78, Marsing to Bruneau, District 3
  • U.S. 95, Junction U.S. 95/Idaho 55, Marsing, District 3
  • Idaho 51, Nevada state line to Bruneau, District 3
  • Idaho 33, Sage Junction, District 6
  • Idaho 21, Idaho City to Stanley, District 3
  • Idaho 21, Boise to Lowman, District 3

Because two new rest areas are programmed in the Highway Development Program, they were not included in the above list. Those facilities will be located on U.S. 95, Camas Prairie, District 2, and Idaho 55, Round Valley, District 3. Winchester and Cottonwood are possible locations being considered by District 2 staff.

The Access Management Team proposed five goals to consider while reviewing the department’s present access policy.

The administrative policy would be revised to remove the requirement of an appraisal or set reimbursement for all changes in regulatory access. It also is considering a change in the use of farm/field approaches to single family residential approaches in deeded access, and to address interim access as a no-fee condition.

The next goal is to establish procedures for notifying the public when changes in access control place restrictions on property. The access classification categories and requirements would be revised to reclassify all urban segments on the state highway to Type III-F and Type IV and reduce the number of variances that slow the permit approval process.

Additionally, the team proposes establishment of procedures to address interim access and to create a new approach spacing table that also addresses frontage roads.

The board provided comments, but overall, supported the goals. It believes access, particularly in urban areas where growth and development are occurring, is an important issue. A good, fair policy is needed to address all aspects of access management, including private property issues.

ITD staff will continue to refine the policy.

The board also approved recommendations for funding projects in the Federal Transit Administration Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program, and Rural and Intercity Program. The approved expenditures are for $408,462 and $1,563,834, respectively. Board members also approved $312,000 for the state Vehicle Investment Program (VIP).

VIP funds, among other things, will help purchase vehicles for the Mountain Home Senior Center, Minidoka Memorial Hospital and Valley Vista Care Center in Custer County.

Earlier, planning grants and urbanized area formula funds were approved for the state’s metropolitan planning organizations. Also, Discretionary Capital Program funds were approved for projects such as vehicles for Ada County Highway District’s vanpool program, a bus facility in Blaine County, transit facilities in Lewiston, and transit vehicles for Pocatello.

The total Public Transportation program for FY04 is $13,687,053.