From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 15 - July 7, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County road work planned

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Road Superintendent Butch Penton talked with Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday about plans for Paradise Road.

Commissioner John Linn said it's his view that the idea to bridge the New Fork River on private property belonging to the Jensens appears to be a dead option, so the county needs to focus on improving Paradise Road.

"We need to figure out what problems we can live with and what one we can't," Linn said.

He added that in order to pave the road, some major work would need to be accomplished first.

Linn suggested that the county might want to lane the roadway with fence rather than installing expensive cattleguards that would be compatible with a paved roadway. Those cattleguards can cost $20,000 each, Linn noted, so it might be less expensive to lane the road instead.

Penton said he would check with landowners about fencing the road and the need for livestock underpasses. He will also get an engineer lined up to get the project underway.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said the county needs to bid out both the road work and the fencing.

Linn suggested that the county may want to move the road's southern entrance to Highway 351 about a quarter-mile west, so the junction with the highway isn't on a corner and so close to the New Fork River bridge.

"Let's proceed as if we're doing it this year," Fear said, although the work may not be done until next year.

In other road business, Jim Shepard and Ric Samulski of the Sylvan Bay Homeowner's Association spoke with the commission, asking for grading of 1.1 mile of gravel road to the Sylvan Bay area, noting that the road serves 45 summer homes.

Samulski said, "This should be a Forest Service responsibility," but the agency hasn't been getting needed road work accomplished.

Samulski said: "We have been frustrated ... Their service on the road has been, at best, erratic."

Samulski said the homeowners would like the county to grade the road a couple of times per year, in late May or early June, then again in August.

Commissioner Bill Cramer explained: "The problem is that you're not on a county road. You bought what you bought where you bought it."

Cramer said he wouldn't want to take money away from a private contractor who might want the job.

Linn suggested it would be less than $5,000 per year to hire a private contractor to do the job, only about $100 per household.

"I can't see where we can do this," Linn said, noting it's not too big a burden on the homeowners to pay for the work and adding that the road isn't a county road.

The homeowners association agreed to speak with the Forest Service about getting the work done or having the federal agency speak with commissioners about the possibility of contracting for the work.

The commission also briefly discussed the LaBarge Creek Road. The commission still doesn't have easements in hand from the landowners on the five private parcels. Commission Chair Betty Fear said she expected the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to pursue the matter.

Cramer said, "It means more to them than it does to us, so I guess we can just wait."

"Okay, we'll just wait and see what happens," Fear said.

The commission opened bids for the county's legal advertising for the next year. The Pinedale Roundup, with its $1 per column inch, won the bid, beating the Examiner's bid of $1.75 per column inch.

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