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Commissioners approve relocation of T7 Road for 95 million tons of coal

Navajo Transitional Energy Company presentation to commissioners.

For the second straight meeting, Campbell County Commissioners last week approved a petition to revive the process in relocating another road in order to access 95 million tons of stranded coal.

This time, it’s T7 Road that is being requested for a permanently altered route in the final stages of a move that stalled years ago just outside of Cordero Rojo Mine.

This request is from Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) which contacted five petitioners with land within 25 miles of the requested changes. NTEC would pay all costs in the relocation and improvement of the two roads involved as well as the abandonment.

Senior hydrology Engineer Owen Lindblom of NTEC made the presentation to commissioners and noted the company’s recent land acquisition allows Cordero Rojo Mine pits to expand westward. The company would be continuing a project that was started in 2016 by Cloud Peak Energy.

T7 Road, which is about 15 minutes south of Gillette, would merge with Haight Road about 1 mile west of where they currently intersect. The proposal would extend T7 Road another mile west before curving south on to Haight Road.

The portion of Haight Road from the point of the new merge to where it currently intersects with T7 Road would be vacated.

The proposed alteration would have T7 Road extended further west before turning south and merging with Haight Road. (Navajo Transitional Energy Company graphic)

According to NTEC’s plans, T7 Road needs to be realigned by the second quarter of 2023 to allow continued mining operations of existing coal reserves. To meet that deadline, specifications and bidding would have to be complete by the end of this year, with a target date for road construction in the first half of 2023.

NTEC’s mining operation provides significant coal royalty and tax revenue to Campbell County and the State of Wyoming. The coal company holds the legal title to the majority of the surface land adjacent to the proposed realignment.

The State of Wyoming is the only other surface landowner adjacent to the vacated area.

It’s the second time in as many meetings that commissioners listen to, and approved, a petition to move forward with plans to alter a road to mine coal. They approved the beginning phase of another revived project with the relocation of Bishop Road just southeast of the city limits for another wealth of coal.

That project will pave the way for Eagle Specialties Materials LLC and Peabody Energy Corp. to mine roughly 74 million tons of stranded coal just off Highway 59. 

Commissioners appointed Campbell County Director of Public Works Matt Olson and Campbell County Director of Road and Bridge Kevin Geis to serve as viewers of the road’s relocation. Once that is complete, moving Bishop Road south of its current location and south of the mining locations would go to a public hearing and then on to final approval. 

The relocated stretch of Bishop Road would intersect with Highway 59 near B&B Roustabout Services, about three miles from its current location. It would travel due east and reconnect at the sharp curve in Bishop Road.