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Board to consider acquiring Banks to Lowman road

A 33-mile segment of highway in Boise County, often closed for short periods in the winter because of avalanche and rockslide danger, might be added to the state highway system.

Working through the Idaho Transportation Board’s Subcommittee on Additions to and Deletions from the State Highway System, representatives of ITD’s District 3 have been discussing transfer of the road to the state. The Banks to Lowman road connects Idaho 55 at Banks and Idaho 21 at Lowman, and is an important route for recreational and tourist traffic, including motorists destined for Stanley from the west.

ITD conducted an Origin Destination Study on the route last summer. Results indicate that most of the traffic was “non-local.” The study supported the high point rating, which was sufficient to warrant consideration of adding the road to the state system under current department policy.

Transportation department staff members have developed a cooperative agreement for the transfer of ownership from Boise County to the state. The transfer would take place in segments over time as improvements are completed. The estimated date for assuming jurisdiction of the entire route is October 2011.

The board will be asked to approve the cooperative agreement and grant authority to proceed with the transfer plan when it meets in Boise Monday and Tuesday (March 22, 23). The board meeting, which is open to the public, will be in the auditorium at Headquarters.

Other agenda items for the two-day meeting include:

Report from Interagency Working Group
The Interagency Working Group was established in Idaho Code to advise and assist ITD in analyzing public transportation needs, identifying areas for coordination, and developing strategies for eliminating procedural and regulatory barriers to the coordination of transportation services at the state level.

The working group is composed of eight state agencies and two organizations. It will report to the board on its 2003 activities, including the Pocatello Regional Transit Four-County Demonstration Project, the Magic Valley Initiative, and the North Central Idaho Rural Access Initiative.

Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP)
For the past five years, ITD and the Department of Lands have collaborated on landscaping projects that visually enhance transportation corridors in Idaho communities.

The Community Transportation Enhancement Program enables local governments to increase plant species diversity along highway corridors, provide living screens to negate climate and visual extremes, and enhance city entrances and arterial routes. The latter improves a community’s image and enhances the travel experiences of the motoring public.

The board authorizes $100,000 annually from the Enhancement Program for the CTEP program, which is administered by the Department of Lands. A maximum grant of $15,000 is available to a city, with a local 10% cash match required.

Project coordinator Dave Stephenson will report to the transportation board on recent projects.

Annual Reports
A number of annual reports will be presented to the board during the two-day session:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity report by EEO Manager Karen Sparkman will cover employment statistics, the Americans with Disabilities Act, contract compliance, and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, among other topics.
  • Internal Review Manager Carri Rosti will summarize internal and external audits performed in 2003 and talk about plans for this calendar year.
  • Employee Safety and Risk Manager Cheryl Rost will report on the department’s Safety and Loss Control Program and will summarize safety activities taking place in each district.
  • Representing the employee Wellness Council, committee chair Pauline Davis will review 2003 activities, outlining accomplishments in each of ITD’s six districts and at Headquarters.