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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Techniques for Corridor Preservation in South Dakota
Project Researcher: David Rose, Dye Mgmt. Group
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: -
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement: To date, the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) has not formally employed corridor preservation techniques. The Department's capital improvement program is most strongly driven by a pavement management system that anticipates and responds to pavement condition needs, but less by planned capacity preservation. Even in areas of recognized economic growth and increasing highway capacity needs, acquisition of property rights (both right-of-way and utility easements) along highways occurs only after a capital improvement design concept is well defined. Addressing property needs late in the project development process can lead to construction delays or elevated right-of-way costs, both of which are unacceptable to the public. Where adequate planning for corridor preservation has not previously occurred, necessary property acquisitions can disrupt established businesses. In extreme cases, facility improvements become technically impossible to accomplish because of intractable, conflicting interests between property owners and public agencies.

Current practices also inadequately serve utility relocation associated with construction projects. Because property acquisition typically begins within twelve to eighteen months prior to construction, limited opportunity exists to secure permissions and to allow utilities to accomplish relocation prior to construction. Relocation becomes less efficient and can sometimes delay the construction process.

Finally, the Department's potential ability to more proactively manage property for corridor preservation and utility relocation is not well defined. How can property interest requirements be identified earlier in the planning or project development process? To what extent do state statutes and local ordinances support a more proactive approach? Under what conditions are early acquisition and protection of property rights appropriate? What is the link to local zoning and planning authority, and how receptive are local jurisdictions to closer coordination and formal corridor planning? To what extent would the public and economic development community support corridor preservation efforts, and what education would be necessary to cultivate that support? How much design detail is needed to prove necessity? How should the environmental process be addressed to make sure that all feasible alternatives are considered? Until these and related questions are answered, the Department will be unable to manage transportation corridors as effectively as needed.


Research Objectives:
1  To assess the strengths and weaknesses of current statutes, regulations, ordinances, policies, and procedures employed to acquire property interests necessary for constructing and preserving the function of transportation corridors.
2  To recommend a toolkit of practical, best-practice techniques including statutes, regulations, ordinances, policies, and procedures that state and local agencies in South Dakota can use to more effectively manage property interests.
3  To recommend and assess the associated resource requirements of changes to agency organization, institutional roles, policies, and procedures that will improve public agencies’ ability to preserve the function of transportation corridors.
4  To assess the benefits, resource needs, and other costs to public agencies and private interests of systematic corridor preservation.

Research Tasks:
1  Meet with the project’s technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
2  Through interviews with public officials, landowners, and developers, and through reviews of historical records, characterize the financial impacts on public and private entities of SDDOT’s current corridor preservation practices.
3  Identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of applicable statutes, ordinances, regulations, policies, and procedures governing acquisition and property interests employed for corridor preservation and utility relocation at the state and local
4  Arrange and conduct regional workshops with public officials, developers, and utilities to identify issues and concerns regarding development, utility relocation, and management of transportation corridors.
5  Describe and evaluate the applicability to South Dakota of methods employed in other states for corridor preservation and utility easements.
6  Submit for approval of the project’s technical panel a technical memorandum describing the results of Tasks 1-5 and outlining concepts for strengthening South Dakota’s corridor preservation practices.
7  Recommend a comprehensive and detailed set of tools that can be employed at the state and local level for corridor preservation and utility relocation, and recommend institutional and process-related changes needed to effectively employ those tools.
8  Assess the benefits and costs associated with systematic application of the recommended tools for corridor preservation and utility relocation.
9  By October 1, 2001 identify and define action issues that should be addressed in South Dakota’s 2002 legislative session.
10  Prepare documents that can be used for education and outreach to state and local agencies, developers, business interests, and the public at large.
11  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
12  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:

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