From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 32 - November 6, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Paradise Road count soars

by Cat Urbigkit

"Our dust abatement problem has abated," Sublette County Road Superintendent Dan Holgate reported to the Sublette County Commission Tuesday, adding that county crews are now into the snow-removal mode.

Holgate reported on the traffic count for Paradise Road that was conducted on Aug. 8. From the north end of the road, the average daily traffic count was 548. Eighty percent of that traffic on the north end was passenger vehicles, while 19 percent was heavy trucks.

From the south end of Paradise, the traffic count was much higher, with 783 ADT, 55 percent of which were passenger vehicles, and 44 percent were heavy trucks.

Holgate said the traffic count study enforced his hunches that service trucks were entering from the north, but the heavy equipment entered from the south.

Holgate said for comparison, the nearby south end of the Boulder South Road had an ADT of 145.

Holgate reported that another Wyoming road supervisor advised him that a study concluded that it becomes feasible to pave a road when the average daily traffic reaches 500 vehicles.

"We're exceeding that," Holgate reported, but cautioned the commission to consider other issues, including that traffic decreases when the Bureau of Land Management imposes its winter range restrictions for natural gas development on the Mesa. Also, Holgate said, the commission should consider whether the traffic is a short-term impact or a long-term impact. He suggested that the high traffic counts may be a five- to six-year impact.

Holgate said his crews may need to mag water Paradise Road three times next year, which he said "is more economic for us than to get impatient and pave it."

Holgate also reviewed his letter of comment on the revision of the county comprehensive plan. He urged the commission to consider his comments on the transportation portion of the plan and amend the plan to reflect his suggestions before adopting it at a December commission meeting.

Holgate took issue with the statement in the proposed revised plan that calls for the county to maintain and enforce standards on dedicated county roads. Holgate noted that there is a large portion of county roads that don't meet the county's own standards, mainly because of widths and culverts on some of the county's lower-priority roads. He suggested the statement be reworded to reflect that the county would maintain and enforce standards on new county roads, and would work to improve roads already in the county road system.

Holgate urged revision of a second statement that called for the county to conduct traffic counts to examine the need for surfacing in order to meet the needs of residents and persons with special needs. Holgate suggested that the statement be revised to eliminate referring to people with special needs, noting that the county already has criteria in place for assessing county roads.

The final issue involved a statement calling for the county to provide prior approval for new roads connecting to county roads.

Holgate said he doesn't feel it is appropriate for his department to review and provide approval for roads, whether oilfield, ranch or subdivision, that aren't intended to become county roads.

Holgate suggested the wording be changed to have the county provide approval for private approaches to county roads, but eliminate any language dealing with private roads. The commission thanked Holgate for his input and said they would take his concerns under consideration.

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