Jun 6, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterRevenue from Fremont County's optional 1 percent tax likely will pay for construction on two Riverton-area roads within the next four years.
Officials said the money will go toward nine other projects throughout Fremont County as well.
A citizens committee guided the Fremont County Transportation Department's prioritization of infrastructure work. The group weighted 10 criteria involved in transportation projects, including impact to safety, economic development and convenience.
Transportation superintendent Dave Pendleton and staff engineer Bill Masson said they used the criteria to rank a list of 52 construction projects on county-maintained roads and bridges. They also looked at statistical information regarding crashes and other factors that could affect each project.
The total price tag for all of the work was estimated at $87 million.
Pendleton announced his department's top priorities for use of the new revenue during a budget hearing June 3 with the Fremont County Commission. Two of his highest-ranking projects include work on Riverview Road at Hill Street in Riverton, and construction on 11 miles of Riverview farther west of town.
Pendleton said safety was a major concern at the Riverview Road and Hill Street intersection. Transportation department documents state the section saw 18 crashes and two fatalities between 2002 and 2012. Pendleton estimated it would cost about $500,000 to modify the roadway there.
The 11-mile stretch of Riverview Road needs overlay asphalt and shoulder improvements, Pendleton continued. He estimated that project would cost almost $5 million, but it would improve motorist safety on the street that saw 19 vehicle crashes between 2002 and 2012. Pendleton added that new asphalt would extend the life of the pavement by 15 years.
The transportation department identified $400,000 in improvements needed for a snow fence on South Pass. Pendleton said the work would reduce drifting and blowing snow on the mountain highway and on the road to Atlantic City.
Another project on the list to be funded from 1 percent tax money is realigning Lost Cabin road east of Lysite and installing a box culvert. Documents stated the work would improve safety of the section and provide better access for oil, gas and agricultural industry users.
The highest-ranked Lander-area project was reconstructing a curve on Lower North Fork road north of Lander. Pendleton estimated the total cost at $500,000. The work would rebuild the road section to convert it from a 20 mile-per-hour turn to a 45 mph curve. Transportation department data showed that roadway saw nine vehicle crashes from 2002 to 2012.
Pendleton also would like to replace a bridge over the Wyoming Canal on Tunnel Hill Road and realign that roadway on a section north of Pavillion. Pendleton and department officials estimated the cost would be $1.5 million to replace a "structurally deficient bridge" and eliminate 1 mile of unsafe roadway.
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