The Blaine County commissioners this week took the next step in the years-in-the-making transfer of a section of Sun Valley Road from the state to the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, signing a resolution to pave the way for an official agreement.
“The cities believed they could provide better maintenance,” Commissioner Angenie McCleary said during Tuesday’s meeting.
Under state law, however, the Idaho Department of Transportation can’t directly transfer a state road to a city under 5,000 people—meaning the transfer must go through the county first.
The document signed Tuesday doesn’t actually transfer the road; the commissioners are expected to consider a series of formal agreements in the coming month that will finalize the deal.
Three agreements—one to finalize the transfer of the road from the state to the county, and two others to transfer subsections of the road to the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley—are expected to come before the commission within the next month. Ideally, all three agreements will be approved on the same day, leaving no significant period of time for the county to own the road.
Under the terms currently agreed upon, 3.3 miles of the road will go to the city of Sun Valley, while the remaining 0.3 miles will go to Ketchum.
The state, county and cities have tentatively agreed on a payment of about $4.1 million for the transfer, with roughly $800,000 paid to Ketchum and the remainder to Sun Valley. Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks previously told the Mountain Express that the city plans to use its funding from the state to rebuild the road and improve the bike path along it.