Relocation of Public Roads as Necessitated by the Construction of Water Resources Projects

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-11-19.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)


                             UNITED STATES GENERAL
                                      WASHINGTON,   B.C.   20545



              Dear Mr. Secretary:      1                           Illlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

                       This is to advise you of a recent decision    __. _-.   of the Comp-
              troller       General of the United States (B-169174, March 25,
              1971), which affects           the policies    and practices     of the Bureau
              of Reclamation,          Department of the Interior,        and the Corps of 7L, 3:
              Engineers,        Department of the Army, for relocatingqublic                 ; :, <lj
              roads      as
                __.-I - .__
                          -- cnecessitated
                                     ---_.    by the   construction??X-%at&       resources
               <.-              A copy of the subject decision          is enclosed for
              your information.

                     Section 207(c) of the Flood Control Act of 1960, as
              amended by Public Law 87-874, dated October 23, 1962
               (33 U.S.C. 701r-l(c)),        authorizes   the Bureau and the Corps
              to construct      substitute     roads to design standards comparable
              to those of the State, or the owning political             division,    for
              roads of the same classification           as the road being replaced.
              The classification        of a road is to be determined by the traf-
              fic volume existing         at the time of taking.      The act, as
              amended, provides further           that, when a State or political
              subdivision     requests that the substitute        road be constructed
              to standards higher than current           standards for current     traf-
              fic,   it must pay, prior to commencement of construction,              the
              additional    costs due to such higher standards.

                      In the decision   of March 25, 1971, the Comptroller    Gen-
              eral questioned the authority      of the Corps to construct    with
              Federal funds a second two-lane bridge for U.S. Highway
              No. 19, State Road 55, over the Cross-Florida        Barge Canal.
              The Corps had agreed to provide the State of Florida with a
              second bridge on the rationale       that some States incorporated
              projected     traffic  growth into their published   design stan-
              dards to determine the type of roads to be constructed         while
              others,    such as the State of Florida,    did not.
-, ! ,         The Corps contended that these differences       in published
 .-, I 1 design standards resulted    in some States'   receiving,   without
   c ',  cost, better   roads than those replaced whereas other States
         had to contribute   funds for similar   improvements.     Because

                                                             BUT D~CUMNTAVAILAB~E
                                     50TH   ANNIVERSARYl921- 1971
. -


      of this     inequity    the Chief  of Engineers      agreed to provide   the
      State with a second bridge,          although     the traffic  count at the
      time of taking       and the State’s     published    design  standards  did
      not justify       the construction    of a second bridge      at Federal

              The Comptroller           General    held that funds available                 to the
      Corps could not be used to construct                     the second bridge             be-
      cause it appeared           from the record          that construction              of the
      second bridge         was based on a projected               traffic      count and not
      on the traffic          count at the time of the taking.                      The Comptrol-
      ler General        stated     that,   when a State         in either        its published
      standards       or its actual        practice      projects        future     traffic     to
      determine       the classification           of a road,        the Corps may not pay
      any construction          costs related         to providing          for the projected
      future    traffic      because the road classification                    in such case
      would not be based on the traffic                    count at the time of the
      taking.       It was also the opinion              of the Comptroller               General
      that section         207(c)     did not contemplate            the use of projected
      traffic     to determine          the design      standards        to which a relocated
      road was to be replaced.

              On April   20, 1971, the Corps’        Office    of the Chief of En-
      gineers    advised    its   Civil  Works field      organizations       of the
      March 25 decision         of the Comptroller       General     and instructed
      that no future      relocation     agreements      or construction        contracts
      be executed      when a projection      of traffic,      either    expressed       or
      implied,    had been allowed       beyond that permitted          by a current
      traffic    count.

               In regard           to this    subject,       we noted that Bureau instruc           -
      tions      for the relocation               of roads state      that current    traffic--
      actual       traffic        volume existing          at the time of taking--and           not
      projected          traffic       is the sole criterion          for determining       the
      classification              of a road.         Instructions     of the Bureau state
      further        that      traffic     projections         may be used in determining
      the design           standards       within      given road classifications.

             We noted,      however,   that the Deputy Assistant                   Secretary
      for   Administration,       Department   of the Interior,                  in a letter



    dated July 2, 1971, to the Chairman of the House Committee on'               '1. .i
    Government Operations       on our report   to the Congress on "Sav-
    ings Available     Under the Program for Relocating         Roads and
    Bridges at the Auburn Dam and Reservoir           in California"
    (B-125045),    stated that "Fortunately,       the practice      of deter-
    mining road classification       for relocation     standards permits
    the forecasting     of traffic   for a period of 10 to 15 years."


           Inasmuch as the March 25 decision of the Comptroller         Gen-
    eral pertains    to an interpretation      of section 207(c) of the
    Flood Control Act of 1960, as amended, which applies to the
    road relocation    activities    of the Bureau as well as the Corps,
    we recommend that you instruct        the Commissioner of Reclama-
    tion to amend, where necessary,         the policies  and practices  of
    the Bureau to ensure that projected         traffic  will not be used
    to determine the classification        and design standards to which
    relocated   roads can be constructed       at Federal expense.

          Your attention    is invited   to section    236 of the Legisla-
    tive Reorganization     Act of 1970 which requires      that you sub-
    mit written   statements    of the action taken with respect to
    the recommendation.       The statements   are to be sent to the
    House and Senate Committees on Government Operations           not later L ': "
    than 60 days after    the date of this report       and to the House
    and Senate Committees on Appropriations          in connection  with the '- ';!=,
    first  request for appropriations       submitted   by your agency more
    than 60 days after    the date of this report.

            We shall appreciate receiving your comments and being
    advised of any actions taken on the matters discussed in this

         Copies of this report are being furnished to the Chair-
    men, House and Senate Committees on Government Operations;
    the Chairmen, House and Senate Committees on Appropriations;


the Senate Appropriations    Subcommittee on Public         Works;   and   ;71 I
the Director, Office    of Management and Budget.

                                    Sincerely   yours,

                                    Director,   Civil    Division


The Honorable
The Secretary   of the   Interior