Legislative Document No. 2064 H.P. 1466 House of Representatives, January 23, 2020
An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Local Bridges
Submitted by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Joint Rule 203. Reference to the Committee on Transportation suggested and ordered printed.
ROBERT B. HUNT Clerk
Presented by Representative McLEAN of Gorham.
Printed on recycled paper 1 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
2 Sec. 1. 23 MRSA §563, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 314, §2 and affected 3 by §4, is amended to read:
4 1. Municipal-maintained structures. For a structure for which a municipality has 5 maintenance responsibility, the department shall advise the municipality of its inspection 6 findings, and noted deficiencies and recommendations regarding posting or closure. The 7 municipality has sole responsibility and authority to determine whether a structure must 8 be posted or closed, except that the department may close the structure in cases of 9 emergency or when the department reasonably determines closure is necessary to protect 10 the traveling public from imminent hazard. If the department becomes aware of 11 deficiencies in a structure that could impact posting or closure decisions, the department 12 shall promptly notify the municipality. The department shall notify the municipality 13 when a structure requires a posting or closure, and the municipality shall carry out the 14 posting or closure. The department has the authority to post or close a structure to protect 15 the traveling public from an imminent hazard. The municipality is responsible for all 16 costs and expenses related to the posting and closure, including any needed notifications, 17 procedures, signing and barricades.
18 Sec. 2. 23 MRSA §565, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 314, §2 and affected 19 by §4, is amended to read:
20 2. Low use or redundant bridges on town ways. A municipality has maintenance 21 responsibility for all low use bridges on town ways and all redundant bridges on town 22 ways. 23 For the capital improvement of a low use bridge on a town way or a redundant bridge on 24 a town way located wholly within one municipality, the municipality shall pay 50% of 25 the cost or 1% of its property valuation, whichever is less. For a bridge located on a town 26 line, each municipality shall pay 25% of the cost of the capital improvement or 1% of its 27 property valuation, whichever is less, unless the municipalities and the department agree 28 otherwise. The department shall pay the remaining portion of the cost of the capital 29 improvement subject to available funds. 30 Sec. 3. 23 MRSA §566, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 314, §2 and affected 31 by §4, is amended to read:
32 1. Changes to structures. If a structure is improved in a manner that affects 33 whether it is defined as a minor span or a bridge, the responsibilities set forth in this 34 subchapter regarding the structure do not change unless the department determines that 35 there exists a reasonable engineering basis for the improvement and the department 36 approves the design plans and specifications of the improvement prior to the construction. 37 The design of the improvement to the structure must be in accordance with department 38 standards and sealed by a professional engineer licensed under Title 32, chapter 19 to 39 practice in this State. After construction, the department shall inspect the structure and, if 40 the structure is found to conform with the approved design, the department shall accept 41 responsibility for the structure. If the inspection reveals the structure was not improved 42 in accordance with the department-approved design, the municipality shall make any
Page 1 - 129LR3026(01)-1 1 necessary corrections to the structure required by the department so that responsibility for 2 the structure is accepted by the department.
3 Sec. 4. 23 MRSA §566, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 314, §2 and affected 4 by §4, is amended to read:
5 2. New structures. If a municipality constructs a new bridge on a town way, the 6 department shall assume the responsibilities set forth in the subchapter only if the 7 department determines that there is a reasonable engineering basis for the bridge, as 8 opposed to a minor span, and if the department approves the design and construction of 9 the bridge prior to the construction of the bridge. The bridge must be designed in 10 accordance with department standards and sealed by a professional engineer licensed 11 under Title 32, chapter 19 to practice in this State. If the inspection reveals the bridge 12 was not constructed in accordance with the department-approved design, the municipality 13 shall make any necessary corrections to the bridge required by the department so that 14 responsibility for the bridge is accepted by the department.
15 Sec. 5. 23 MRSA §567, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 314, §2 and affected by §4 and 16 c. 667, Pt. C, §§20 and 22, is amended to read:
17 §567. Bridge capital improvement priorities list
18 The department shall biennially annually prepare a list of bridges that are eligible for 19 capital improvement under this subchapter, arranged in priority order using accepted 20 bridge management principles and as constrained by available funding. The department 21 is the final arbiter as to whether any bridge is placed on the list. The department shall 22 consult with municipalities regarding the manner of improving low use bridges on town 23 ways and redundant bridges on town ways.
24 SUMMARY 25 This bill requires the Department of Transportation to notify a municipality when a 26 bridge for which a municipality has maintenance responsibility requires a posting or 27 closure and requires the municipality to carry out the posting or closure. Current law 28 provides a municipality sole responsibility to determine whether such a bridge must be 29 posted or closed. The bill provides that the department's responsibility to pay a portion of 30 the cost of a capital improvement for a low use or redundant bridge on a town way is 31 subject to available funds. It provides that in order for the department to accept certain 32 responsibilities for an improved bridge or for a new bridge, the department must approve 33 the design of the improvements or construction before the improvements are made or the 34 bridge is constructed. The design of the improvements or construction must meet 35 standards set by the department and be sealed by a professional engineer. The 36 department must inspect the bridge after it is improved or constructed. The bill also 37 changes how often the department must prepare a list of bridges that are eligible for 38 capital improvement from biennially to annually and removes the requirement that this 39 list be arranged in priority order using accepted bridge management principles.
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