Board to consider request for emergency bridge repair funds
The Idaho Transportation Board will be asked to dip into its unallocated fund this week to cover the costs of emergency repairs to bridge girders damaged recently by an over-height load east of Twin Falls.
Board members will assemble Thursday for their monthly business meeting at Headquarters in Boise. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m.
A westbound driver hauling heavy equipment apparently failed to lower part of the machinery, causing it to strike the 500 West Road Overpass near Burley on Jan. 9.
The collision damaged the outside girders supporting the travel lanes of 500 West Road. ITD inspectors determined that the northbound lane of 500 West Road should be closed to restrict truck traffic on that lane.
The estimated cost to develop construction plans and complete emergency repairs on the structure is $250,000. The insurance carrier of the over-height vehicle is expected to reimburse ITD for the repair costs in the future.
ITD staff members will ask the board to fund repair costs from the FY09 State Board Unallocated Program, which was established to address emergencies and other unexpected projects that the board chooses to fund.
Other agenda items
Analysis of aircraft operations
A 2008 finding by the Legislative Support Office recommended that a comprehensive analysis be conducted on the state-owned aircraft operations. The final draft will be presented to the Board.
Idaho’s fleet consists of a 1979 King Air, a 1978 Cessna 206 and a 1972 Cessna 182. The highest priority for use of the aircraft is for law enforcement and emergency transportation in support of state interests.
The King Air, the only state plane with all-weather capability, can operate from approximately 60 airports in the state and can reach most places in the state within one hour. It is controlled by the Idaho State Police because Acquired as surplus from the military, the plane is operated under the jurisdiction of the Idaho State Police; its priority use is for law enforcement and emergency transportation. ISP does not have an aviation division, so the aircraft was transferred to ITD through an operating agreement. The plane also is used to transport state employees when it is not needed by ISP.
Both the 206 and 182 are single-engine piston-driven propeller aircraft that can carry five and three passengers, respectively. They are specially equipped to detect aircraft emergency locator transmitters (ELTs).
The first priority for these planes is to search for downed or missing aircraft in support of the divisions’ search and rescue mission. Both are used occasionally to transport passengers. The 206 also is used to support the 30 state-operated airstrips, some of which have no road access. A lower priority use of the 182 is to perform airport inspections for the Federal Aviation Administration under a reimbursement contract and to conduct special missions for other state agencies, such as aerial surveys for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The report concludes that Idaho’s small aircraft fleet is vital for the state’s emergency use. Its use for other state transportation essentially covers the cost of maintaining the emergency capability and is in the best interest of Idaho citizens.
Annual report on state-owned dwellings
Administrative Policy A-03-06, State-Owned Dwellings, requires ITD to present an annual report to the board on the status of state-owned dwellings.
The department owns 5 five houses, three bunkhouses and an apartment at Johnson Creek Air Strip that is used seasonally. In addition to the houses, ITD owns 30 trailer pads, five of which have doublewide houses.
ITD provides or rents state-owned dwellings to employees in situations where the best interests of the department are served. There are locations where employees reside in a state-owned dwelling as a condition of their employment, including Reeds Bar and Powell in District 2, Riddle in District 3 and Johnson Creek Airport.
The policy allows the department to rent at a reduced amount for various reasons, including invasion of the employee’s privacy or isolation. The fair market rental value was determined eight years ago with appraisals completed by staff. Each year the rent and reductions are compared for reasonableness with Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation- and U.S. Forest Service- owned dwellings.
Additionally, 10 trailer pads and three houses are located at rest areas around the state. Rest area maintenance contracts require the contractor to be available for daily conferences and on-call for emergencies at all times. Providing the state-owned dwelling is part of the consideration of the maintenance contract.