Highway design

Directs DOT to establish new design guidelines to govern new
construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, or
rehabilitation of bridges, pricipal and minor arterial roads,
collector and local roads, and streets.  (SB2301 HD1)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                H.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Hawaii's rural communities are the heart and
 2 soul of the islands, where the aloha spirit and natural resources
 3 are truly the essence of our State.  As urbanization spreads
 4 throughout Hawaii, these communities are at risk of losing their
 5 unique identities, especially when planning for roadway
 6 construction that must meet certain highway standards.  The
 7 standards that most highway designers reference are based on "A
 8 Policy on the Geometric Designs of Highways and Streets"
 9 (commonly called the "Green Book") published by the American
10 Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.  These
11 standards are not inflexible.  As a companion to the Green Book,
12 the Federal Highway Administration has published "Flexibility in
13 Highway Design," which encourages highway designers to expand
14 their consideration in applying the Green Book criteria.  It
15 further states, "This guide should be viewed as a useful tool to
16 help highway designers, environmentalists, and the public move
17 further along the path to sensitively designed highways and
18 streets by identifying some possible approaches that fully
19 consider aesthetic, historic, and scenic values, along with
20 safety and mobility."

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 1      When Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation
 2 Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991, it recognized the importance of
 3 good design that is sensitive to its surrounding environment,
 4 especially in historic and scenic areas.  Aesthetic, scenic,
 5 historic, cultural, and natural resources of an area are
 6 important factors that create a sense of place and provide
 7 communities with an identity.  Section 1016(a) of ISTEA states:
 8 "If a proposed project involves a historic facility or is located
 9 in an area of historic or scenic value, the Secretary may approve
10 the project if the project is designed to standards that allow
11 for preservation of such historic or scenic value and such
12 project is designed with mitigation measures to allow
13 preservation of such value and ensure safe use of the facility."
14      In 1995, Congress strengthened this position in the National
15 Highway System Act in section 304 that states: "A design for new
16 construction, reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance
17 surfacing), restoration, or rehabilitation of a highway on the
18 National Highway System (other than a highway also on the
19 Interstate System) may take into account, in addition to safety,
20 durability, and economy of maintenance:
21      (1)  The constructed and natural environment of the area;

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 1      (2)  The environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic,
 2           community, and preservation impacts of the activity;
 3           and
 4      (3)  Access for the other modes of transportation."
 5      By passage of the federal act, Congress gave the state the
 6 flexibility to develop and apply criteria they deem appropriate
 7 for federal-aid projects not on the national Highway System.  The
 8 legislature finds that there is a federal policy framework that
 9 encourages creativity and sensitivity, while achieving safety and
10 efficiency.  This policy framework recommends early
11 identification of critical project issues and encourages thorough
12 consideration of community concerns and input prior to major
13 decisions which can severely limit all other options.
14      The legislature finds that organizations such as the
15 Alliance for the Heritage of East Maui, the Hanalei Road
16 Committee on Kauai, and the Hamakua-Honokaa Heritage Corridor on
17 the Big Island, are exploring and supporting concepts such as
18 scenic Byway or Heritage corridor programs.  Work is also in
19 progress to recognize the upper Kona road on the Big Island and
20 Ka Iwi coastal highway stretch on Oahu as important scenic and
21 historic corridors.  These organizations, which represent their
22 communities' desires, need alternative standards to be adopted by
23 the department of transportation to provide and meet community

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 1 concerns with regard to natural, cultural, historic, and scenic
 2 resources.
 3      It is the intent of the legislature to encourage the highest
 4 quality design to ensure that road and bridge projects adequately
 5 meet the State's transportation needs, exist in harmony with
 6 their surroundings, and add value to the communities they serve.
 7      SECTION 2.  (a)  On or before June 30, 2003, the director of
 8 transportation shall establish new design guidelines to govern
 9 new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, or
10 rehabilitation of bridges, principal and minor arterial roads,
11 collector and local roads, and streets.  The guidelines shall
12 take into account:
13      (1)  Safety, durability, and economy of maintenance;
14      (2)  The constructed and natural environment of the area;
15      (3)  The potential effects on the local and state economies;
16      (4)  The community development plans as reflected in
17           relevant county ordinances;
18      (5)  The environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic,
19           community, and preservation impacts of the activity;
20      (6)  Access for other modes of transportation; and 
21      (7)  Access to and integration of sites deemed culturally
22           and historically significant to the communities
23           affected.
24      (b)  In establishing the guidelines described under this

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 1 section, the director shall solicit and consider the views of
 2 elected officials and organizations, including but not limited
 3 to:
 4      (1)  Those with expertise in:
 5           (A)  Environmental protection;
 6           (B)  Historic preservation;
 7           (C)  Scenic conservation;
 8           (D)  Bicycle and pedestrian transportation; and 
 9           (E)  Regional councils of government;
10      (2)  Rural development councils;
11      (3)  The state foundation on culture an the arts commission;
12           and
13      (4)  The Federal Highway Administration.
14      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.