2011 Vermont Code
Title 19 Highways
Chapter 1 STATE HIGHWAY LAW
§ 10c Statement of policy; highways and bridges


19 VT Stats § 10c. (2011 through Adj Sess) What's This?

§ 10c. Statement of policy; highways and bridges

(a) For projects that are on the National Highway System, if site conditions, environmental factors or engineering factors restrict the use of national standards for geometric design, the agency may pursue exceptions to those standards when appropriate to comply with local or regional plans as interpreted by the adopting entities, or with federal or state long-range plans as adopted, or with local conditions.

(b) For projects that are not on the National Highway System, the agency shall develop and implement state standards for geometric design. Design speeds may be lower than legal speeds. Design speeds lower than legal speeds may be used without the requirement of a formal design exception, provided appropriate warnings are posted.

(c) In choosing between the improvement of an existing highway and complete reconstruction, the agency shall weigh the following factors:

(1) disruption to homes and businesses;

(2) environmental impacts;

(3) the benefits attainable by designing and constructing the improvement as a limited access facility;

(4) the potential effects on the local and state economies;

(5) cost-effectiveness;

(6) mobility;

(7) safety, as determined by factors such as accident history for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists;

(8) local or regional plans as interpreted by the adopting entity, and state agency plans;

(9) the impact on the historic, scenic and aesthetic values of the municipality, as interpreted by the municipality, in which the highway is located; and

(10) if it is a forest highway under federal jurisdiction.

(d) It shall be the policy of the state in developing projects as defined in subsection (b) of this section for the resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation and reconstruction of bridges and the approaches to bridges to favor their preservation within their existing footprints, in order to ensure compatibility with the Vermont setting and context and to reduce costs and environmental impacts.

(e) The agency shall investigate and implement, where feasible, policies and programs to allow municipal governments to develop projects or construct projects, or both, under the agency's oversight in accordance with federal laws and regulations if federal funds are used.

(f) It shall be the policy of the state, as defined in subsection (b) of this section, to favor the rehabilitation of existing bridges. In choosing between the rehabilitation of an existing bridge and the construction of a new bridge, whether on the existing location or on a new location, the agency shall weigh the following factors, in addition to the factors specified in subsection (c) of this section:

(1) the functional classification of the highway;

(2) the load capacity and geometric constraints of the bridge and the availability of alternative routes;

(3) the comparative long-term costs, risks and benefits of rehabilitation and new construction; and

(4) the requirements of state standards for geometric design.

(g) With regard to a bridge located on a municipal highway, a municipality may request the agency to adhere to one or more of the following guidelines:

(1) where feasible, the rehabilitated or replacement bridge shall occupy the same curb-to-curb width or alignment, or both, as the existing bridge or the existing approaches to the existing bridge, or both;

(2) unless otherwise required by law, a bridge that does not already carry a sidewalk may be rehabilitated without adding a sidewalk and a replacement bridge may be built without a sidewalk or with a sidewalk on only one side; or

(3) in rehabilitating a historically significant bridge, the design of the rehabilitated bridge must retain the bridge's historic character, to the extent feasible.

(h) In implementing the policies that are established in subsections (f) and (g) of this section, with regard to a bridge located on a municipal highway:

(1) the affected municipality shall conduct a public hearing as early as is feasible in the project scoping process, to identify pertinent issues;

(2) the agency shall identify and present to the affected municipality feasible alternative solutions before it prepares conceptual plans for the proposed project; and

(3) the agency's presentation of feasible alternative solutions shall include estimates of the total preliminary engineering and construction costs for each alternative.

(i) Adherence by the agency to one or more of the policies established in this section for a specific project shall constitute the selection of a particular set of standards, for the purposes of 12 V.S.A. { 5601(e)(8).

(j) Upon final payment of a paving contract with the agency of transportation which contains liquidated damages from a paving contractor for failure to complete work on time, such damages shall be paid by the agency of transportation to the town or towns in which the work was not completed on time. In no case shall the liquidated damages paid to a town or towns exceed the state share of those liquidated damages for that paving project. If such a project is in more than one town, each town shall receive an amount of liquidated damages equal to its percentage of the state share of uncompleted work.

(k)(1) The agency shall by January 15 of each year submit a report on the pavement conditions of the state highway system to the house and senate committees on transportation which, at a minimum, shall contain the information, updated to the latest date consistent with the publication date, which is included in the agency's publication entitled "Pavement Management Annual Report 2006." The report in addition shall include information describing the actual historic percentage of state system pavement which is rated as being in poor or very poor condition.

(2) The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on transportation regarding alternate formats and measurements for this report.

( l ) The agency shall by January 15 of each year submit a report on the condition of bridges, culverts, and other structures on the state system and town highways to the house and senate committees on transportation. The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on transportation on alternate formats and measurements for this report.

(m) Recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) shall be used on all agency paving projects to the extent sources of quality RAP are available consistent with producing quality hot mix asphalt. To that extent, the agency shall define paving project specifications and contract bid documents to allow the use of up to 50 percent RAP. The agency shall compare the cost-benefit of the state retaining the RAP versus the contractor retaining the RAP, and the agency shall report to the house and senate committees on transportation on the results of the comparison in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions. (Added 1989, No. 121, { 2, eff. June 22, 1989; amended 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), { 37; 1993, No. 89, { 21; 1995, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), { 1; 1999, No. 18, { 41r, eff. May 13, 1999; 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 50, 57, 58, eff. May 22, 2008.)

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