Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1979 NO. 9 >

The provisions of RCW 81.48.010, requiring trains to ring their bells or sound their whistles prior to crossing a traveled road or street, are not applicable where only a private road is involved.

AGO 1978 NO. 16 >

(1) The Urban Arterial Board (UAB) may allocate urban arterial trust account moneys for construction projects on city arterials which form a part of the state highway system, but only if such moneys are requested by a city and the project otherwise meets all requirements for urban arterial projects.   (2) The Urban Arterial Board is not permitted or required to allocate urban arterial trust account moneys for the construction of state highways outside of incorporated cities or towns.

AGO 1961 NO. 16 >

Where territory which is part of a county road district is annexed to a city, the annexing city is entitled upon collection to receive from the county treasurer such road district taxes as have been levied but not collected on property within the annexed territory prior to the time of annexation for application to city street fund purposes.

AGO 1975 NO. 17 >

(1) A county ordinance adopted under Article XI, § 11 of the state constitution may not require the owner of land abutting a county road intersection, without compensation, to remove preexisting trees and other vegetation or structures from within a prescribed distance of the intersection in order to provide an unobstructed view across the owner's land for vehicles approaching the intersection.  (2) A county may, however, secure the removal of such sight obstructions at an intersection by exercising its constitutional powers of eminent domain.

AGO 1996 NO. 17 >

1.  Federally-owned roads which are closed to the general public are not "county roads" and a non-charter county therefore lacks authority to maintain such roads with state and county funds. 2.  A county has authority, if it chooses, to set and enforce traffic signals on federally-owned roads within the county, except where superseded by federal law; however, the county has no obligation to set and enforce traffic signals on such roads because they are not "county roads" as defined in state law. 3.  A county may contract with an agency of the United States to maintain federally-owned roads within the county, or to set and enforce traffic controls for such roads, in return for payment by the federal agency of the costs incurred by the county in performing such services. 4.  A county may use "county road property tax revenues" as defined in statute, after diverting them to the current expense fund pursuant to law, for setting and enforcing traffic controls on federally-owned roads within the county. 5.  For purposes of allocating the state motor vehicle fuel tax under RCW 46.68.120, .122, and .124, federally-owned roads in a county which are closed to the general public are not "county roads" and should not be considered in making the allocation. 6.  A county which deposited revenues from the county road property tax levy into its current expense fund to pay the expenses related to setting and enforcing traffic controls on federally-owned roads within the county would not thereby lose its eligibility to receive state funding under such statutes as RCW 36.79.140.

AGO 1988 NO. 20 >

A public transportation benefit area may not use its funds for improvements or maintenance of public roads and streets by means of an interlocal cooperation agreement with cities and/or counties, because the public transportation benefit area is not legally responsible for road and street construction or maintenance.

AGO 1970 NO. 26 >

(1) Section 7, chapter 185, Laws of 1969, Ex. Sess. (RCW 36.87.130) limiting the power of a county to vacate a county road which abuts on a body of salt or fresh water, applies to a county road, a lateral edge of which touches or encroaches upon a body of salt or fresh water, as well as to one whose terminal end touches upon such a body of water.(2) A county road abuts on a body of salt or fresh water if it touches or encroaches upon the line of ordinary high tide or high water as marked by the line of vegetation.

AGLO 1980 NO. 26 >

In determining whether a particular county road construction or improvement project may be accomplished by day labor under RCW 36.77.060 (in a case where the construction or improvement is not the installation of electrical control devices or the like) prior to the effective date of the repeal thereof on January 1, 1981, the costs of related construction materials need not be taken into consideration irrespective of (a) whether the construction materials were purchased in connection with the particular project rather than being acquired as a part of a general inventory or (b) whether those construction materials were purchased by competitive bidding or not.

AGO 1971 NO. 29 >

(1) When a board of county commissioners enters into a contract for the construction or improvement of county roads under chapter 36.77 RCW, the board is required to comply with the bidding requirements of RCW 36.77.020 through 36.77.040 even though the estimated cost of the project does not exceed $25,000.(2) A board of county commissioners may direct the performance of road construction or improvements by "day labor," rather than pursuant to contract, if the estimated cost of such project does not exceed $25,000.         (3) Where a board of county commissioners hires one or more pieces of equipment and their operators, individually, to perform road construction or improvements in connection with a project having an estimated cost of less than $25,000, it may do so without complying with the bidding requirements of RCW 36.77.020 through 36.77.040 only if the operators so hired acquire the status of county employees rather than serving as independent contractors.

AGO 1966 NO. 82 >

In acquiring right of way for a county road, a county may acquire a strip of land sufficient in width to provide an adjacent and contiguous parking area to relieve anticipated traffic congestion along that particular portion of the roadway.