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HOUSE BILL NO. 560
INTRODUCED BY M. HANSON, S. ROSE, J. WITT
AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING COUNTY ROAD LAWS; CLARIFYING THE DUTIES OF A BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS REGARDING COUNTY ROADS; ESTABLISHING THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A ROAD MAY BE DESIGNATED AS A COUNTY ROAD; ALLOWING A BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE A ROAD UNDER ITS JURISDICTION; ALLOWING A BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO MAINTAIN A ROAD TO THE DEGREE THAT IT DETERMINES IS APPROPRIATE; REQUIRING THAT PUBLIC NOTICE BE GIVEN AND A PUBLIC HEARING BE HELD BEFORE A ROAD MAY BE ABANDONED BY THE STATE; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 7-14-2101, 7-14-2103, 7-14-2127, 60-1-201, AND 60-2-107, MCA.
WHEREAS, it has become necessary to clarify the duties of boards of county commissioners regarding roads under their jurisdiction; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate to specify how the maintenance and oversight of certain roads may be transferred to a county in a manner that protects private property rights and allows the public to participate in the process; and
WHEREAS, clarifying in statute the definition of a county road and the rights and responsibilities of a board of county commissioners will prevent county road-related disputes from entering the court system.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 7-14-2101, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-14-2101. General powers of county relating to roads and bridges. (1) The board of county commissioners, under
such the limitations and restrictions as that are prescribed by law, may:
(a) (i) lay out, maintain, control, and manage county roads and bridges within the county;
(ii) levy taxes
therefor for county roads and bridges as provided by law;
(b) (i) in the exercise of sound discretion, jointly with other counties, lay out, maintain, control, manage, and improve
county roads and bridges in adjacent counties, wholly or in
such part as may be agreed upon between the boards of the
(ii) levy taxes
therefor for the laying out, maintenance, control, management, and improvement of county roads and
bridges as provided by law;
(c) (i) enter into agreements for adjusted annual contributions over not more than 6 years toward the cost of joint highway or bridge construction projects entered into in cooperation with other counties, the state, or the United States;
such a joint project in the budget and levy taxes therefor for a joint project as provided by law.
(2) (a) Unless the context requires otherwise, for the purposes of this chapter, county road means:
any public highway
opened, established, constructed, maintained, abandoned, or discontinued by a county in accordance with this chapter
(i) a road that is petitioned by freeholders, approved by resolution, and opened by a board of county commissioners in accordance with this title;
(ii) a road that is dedicated for public use in the county and approved by resolution by a board of county commissioners; or
(iii) a road that has been acquired by eminent domain and accepted by resolution as a county road by a board of county commissioners.
(b) Following a public hearing, a board of county commissioners may accept by resolution a road that has not previously been considered a county road but that has been laid out, constructed, and maintained with state department of transportation or county funds.
(c) A survey is not required of an existing county road that is accepted by resolution by a board of county commissioners.
(d) A road that is abandoned by the state may be designated as a county road upon the acceptance and approval by resolution of a board of county commissioners.
(b)(e) Unless the context requires otherwise, bridge includes rights-of-way or other interest in land, abutments,
superstructures, piers, and approaches except dirt fills."
Section 2. Section 7-14-2103, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-14-2103. Duties of county commissioners concerning county roads. (1)
Each A board of county commissioners
has general supervision over the county roads within the county.
Each A board may survey, view, lay out, record, open, work, and maintain county roads that are petitioned for by
freeholders established in accordance with this chapter. Guideposts must be erected.
Each A board may discontinue or abandon county roads when freeholders properly petition for discontinuance or
(4) A board of county commissioners may determine the level and scope of maintenance on a county road under its jurisdiction, and a local entity or the state may not withhold funds based on the board's maintenance determinations."
Section 3. Section 7-14-2127, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-14-2127. Temporary limitation or prohibition of traffic.
Each (1) A board of county commissioners may in its
discretion limit or forbid, temporarily, any traffic or class of traffic on the county roads or any part thereof of a county road
when it is necessary in order to preserve or repair such the roads.
(2) A board of county commissioners may temporarily close a county road or bridge or any part of a county road for maintenance or repair if the board determines that the road or bridge is unsafe. This temporary closure is not considered abandonment. The board of county commissioners shall erect signs indicating that the road is closed."
Section 4. Section 60-1-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"60-1-201. Classification -- highways and roads. (1) Public highways of this state are classified as follows:
(a) federal-aid highways;
(b) state highways;
(c) county roads;
(d) city streets.
(2) All highways
which that are not designated, selected, or established by the commission or constructed or maintained
by the department are may be designated as county roads or city streets upon the acceptance of the county or city.
(3) County roads are those opened, established, constructed, maintained, changed, abandoned, or discontinued by a county in accordance with Title 7, chapter 14.
(4) City streets are those public highways under the jurisdiction of municipal officials."
Section 5. Section 60-2-107, MCA, is amended to read:
"60-2-107. Abandonment of highways -- exchange of roadways -- public notice required. (1) The commission may abandon highways on the federal-aid systems and state highways.
(2) Before abandoning or discontinuing maintenance on a highway, the commission shall hold a public hearing in the county or counties affected by the abandonment. The commission may elect to offer to transfer the liability for and the maintenance of a highway to another agency or agencies that may in turn elect to take responsibility for the highway. The commission shall notify the board of county commissioners in writing of its intent to abandon a highway and hold a public hearing. The commission shall publish for 3 consecutive weeks in local newspapers within the county the notice of abandonment and public hearing.
(2)(3) The commission may enter into an agreement with a unit of local government, on mutually beneficial terms, to
exchange property interests or responsibilities, including maintenance, on any portion of a federal-aid or state highway and
on any portion of a county road or city street."
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Latest Version of HB 560 (HB0560.ENR)
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