House Bill No. 466

Introduced By barnhart, eck, carey, marshall, swanson

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act allowing a local government to select an engineer from an approved list to conduct an engineering and traffic investigation; requiring the engineer to submit a report to the transportation commission; requiring the commission to act on the findings within 120 days; and amending section

61-8-309, MCA."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 61-8-309, MCA, is amended to read:

"61-8-309.   Establishment of special speed zones. (1) (a) If the department of transportation commission determines upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that a speed limit set by 61-8-303 is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at an intersection, curve, dangerous location, or any other part of a highway under its jurisdiction, the commission may set a reasonable and safe special speed limit at that location.

(b)  If a local authority requests the department of transportation or an engineer, as provided in subsection (1)(c)(i), to conduct an engineering and traffic investigation based on the belief that a speed limit on a highway under the department's jurisdiction set pursuant to this part ON A HIGHWAY UNDER THE DEPARTMENT'S JURISDICTION is greater than is reasonable or safe, the commission may not increase the speed limit under consideration as a result of the investigation.

(c) (i) A local authority may request AT ITS OWN EXPENSE that an engineering and traffic investigation be completed by a licensed professional engineer selected from a list compiled and approved by a committee as provided in subsection (1)(c)(ii).

(ii) A committee containing two department of transportation staff appointed by the director and four TWO representatives of associations whose membership comprises cities, towns, and counties, AS AUTHORIZED BY 7-5-2141 AND 7-5-4141, shall review credentials submitted by licensed professional engineers and shall determine who appears on the list of individuals authorized to conduct engineering and traffic investigations for local governments. The list must be completed by October 1, 1997, and must be updated every 2 years.

(iii) Upon completion of an engineering and traffic investigation conducted for a local government, the department of transportation or the engineer shall submit a report to the commission with findings and recommendations. The commission shall decide on an appropriate speed limit based on the traffic investigation within 120 days from the date the report INVESTIGATION is submitted TO THE DEPARTMENT.

(2)  The department of transportation shall erect and maintain appropriate signs giving notice of these special limits. When they are erected, the limits are effective at that part at all times or at other times that the commission sets.

(3)  The authority of the commission under this section includes the authority to set reduced nighttime speed limits on curves and other dangerous locations.

(4)  This section does not authorize the commission to set a statewide speed limit."