From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 10 - May 31, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

WYDOT plans to spend $100 million on county projects

by Tiffany Turner

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) introduced 19 projects and an expenditure of over $100 million May 24 during a State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) presentation at the Sublette County Library.

Those in attendance included WYDOT staff, Wyoming Transportation Commissioner Jim Latta and county commissioners Joel Bousman and John Linn.

The purpose of the meeting was for WYDOT to introduce their planned projects for the next six years and receive public feedback. Of the 19 proposed plans, seven will improve roadways in Sublette County.

“We want to provide a transfer of information,” said John Eddins of WYDOT. “We’ll share with you folks what we plan on putting in, and we are looking for some public feedback.”

In order of priority and timeframe, these projects are: a paved overlay on easterly 12 miles of WYO 351 ending at the junction of US 191 and WYO 351; Lee Ditch Bridge replacement on Fremont Lake Road; replacement of one mile of right-of-way fence between Daniel Junction and Hoback Junction on US 191; repairs to the north-bound lane on US 189; reconstruction of five miles of US 191 from Bondurant to the mouth of the Hoback Canyon; pavement of 10 miles of US 191 west of Pinedale and insertion of two pedestrian crossing lights on Pine Street in Pinedale.

Much of these projects are planned based on a one-time grant from the state legislature of $100 million. According to Eddins, the legislature did not guarantee that the funds will be available every year, but WYDOT is hoping to receive the boost again in the future.

“We are planning these projects now in the hopes we get the money again,” Eddins said. “(The money) they (the legislature) gave WYDOT out of the fund in 2007 was a one-time thing; they made no promise that it would be given the next year. We’re trying to be proactive.”

“We are estimating the legislature is going to fund another $100 million and if we don’t have the projects ready to go if we get it, we won’t be ready to use the monies,” he added.

Linn spoke to WYDOT staff about the need for action and change on WYO 351.

“We’re having issues in this oil and gas area,” Linn said. “We know the traffic monster is right back here. I think the bridge over Green River is the most dangerous place in the town.”

WYDOT understood that issues have arisen, but Eddins told Linn that a traffic study must be done before they can take action and get a project in the works.

“I understand what you are saying, but we need numbers and facts before I can ask for that much money and that kind of undertaking,” Eddins said.

Linn would like to see some of the oil and gas companies help fund more of the road problems that he feels they have created.

“These companies could help mitigate a lot of this,” Linn said. “How can we get the community together to voice our opinions to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)? I think we need to go at the BLM together and say ‘You need to get us better data.’”

Another topic brought to the foreground is the planned placement of two pedestrian crossing lights on Pine Street in 2009.

“One on Tyler is pretty much set in stone,” Eddins said. “We are open to suggestions for the other one.”

There will be several projects in progress on Sublette County roads during the next several years. Total expenditure on construction for roads on the Wyoming Highway system is 53 percent ($318,136,038) of the total available monies and 19 percent on maintaining them.

“We really pride ourselves on spending the most of our money on our roads,” Eddins said.

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