Garner Lake will soon extend all the way to North Highway 59
(Gillette, Wyo.) Officials with the Wyoming Department of Transportation informed the city council last night that over $120 million has been budgeted for the State Transportation Improvement Plan, which will be spent on over a dozen projects across Campbell County.
This year, WYDOT expects to receive approximately $582 million from three revenue streams: 50 percent from the federal government, 35 percent from the State of Wyoming, and 15 percent from partnerships with local governments and other means, according to Mark Gillett, assistant chief engineer in operations for WYDOT.
Recently however, WYDOT’s funding has been steadily decreasing after it peaked in 2010, which has resulted in a challenging situation for WYDOT as it seeks to continue improving and maintaining the state system.
“As we have been saying for the last few years, we are still definitely in the preservation mode—trying to hold the system together in the same condition as it is,” Gillett said.
However, the department is still trying and has set aside close to 124 million this year, an unusually high budget, but understandably so.
“It’s not always going to be like that, but we have some big projects going on right now,” said James Evensen, district construction engineer for WYDOT.
Big projects such as the one currently underway which will connect Garner Lake Road to North Highway 59. Phase one of the project—4.3 miles of new road and a new bridge over the railroad tracks—is expected to cost approximately $13 million, Evensen said.
The completion of phase one should be opened up to traffic by October, with the final completion date for the entire project set in June 2019. Garner Lake will be the through road, which means the intersection of Northern Drive and Garner Lake will have to be revamped as part of phase two, according to Evensen.
But, seeing as WYDOT has only recently started negotiations with Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the bridge will not be complete until 2019 as well. In total, the entire project will cost around $15 million.
Highway 50 from Lakeway Road to Southern Drive will be addressed in 2019 with the road being widened to accommodate five lanes, which will have an approximate cost of $12 million. The traffic signal will be installed at the intersection on Garner Lake and Boxelder Roads, with numerous other signal replacements scheduled throughout the year.
In 2020, WYODOT’s attention will be fixated on two bridges on Highway 14-16—the Wildcat Creek bridge and the Rawhide Creek bridge. Both bridges will be replaced completely and will cost a combined total of $3.2 million. Additionally, South Highway 59 to Wright will be expanded to five lanes north of Highway 387 and South of Highway 450—approximately $16.2 million.
Around 8.5 miles of North Highway 59 will be expanded to four-foot shoulders, which will allow the installation of rumble strips.
“The single largest accident-type that we have in the State of Wyoming is the single-vehicle, run off the road accident,” Evensen explained. Installing the rumble strips would go a long ways towards reducing how many of these accidents happen each year. This project will cost $12.1 million.
Passing lanes will be extended on Highway 59 from Wright to Gillette, which is a project that WYDOT has had on the shelf for some time, but it was pushed down the road with the start of the Garner Lake Project. Extending the passing lanes will make traveling on the road easier by giving motorists more time to pass, which will additionally make passing safer, Evensen said. The project will cost $12.4 million
Interstate 90 will be WYDOT’s primary concern in 2022, from the west bound lane between Rozet and Moorcroft. The project is comprised of a 10-mile mill and overlay, and will cost approximately $10.7 million.
Highway 50 from Gillette to Pine Creek Junction will be milled and overlaid from the Junction to Savageton, Wyoming. The addition of passing lanes are being considered. As it stands, the project will cost $7.2 million.
Approximately $6.3 million is set aside to pay for six miles of overlay on I-90 near Wild Horse Creek.
This year, shoulders on North Highway 59 from the Olmstead to the Montana state line will be extended to four-foot.
In addition to the road projects, approximately 39.3 million will be spent on bridge rehabilitation projects, chip sealing, culvert lining, crack sealing, spot safety, and fence replacement.