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Mortimore Lane rebuild project facing hurdles
Dowl HKM engineer Diane Oress, left, and Fremont County transportation superintendent Dave Pendleton told commissioners Oct. 1 that the rebuild of Mortimore Lane near Lander is experiencing complications. Photo by Eric Blom

Mortimore Lane rebuild project facing hurdles

Oct 18, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Engineers say squeezing a recreation path into the Lander road's existing right-of-way does not work well.

Engineers on Oct. 1 updated the Fremont County Commission on the status of designing a rebuild of Mortimore Lane near Lander. The project plans to add a recreation path and shoulders to a 2,000-foot section of the road, but squeezing everything into the existing right-of-way does not work well, the county board heard.

In June, the commission discussed using revenue from the optional 1 percent sales tax for the project, which was expected to cost about $700,000 total. Rebuilding Mortimore Lane was ranked 14th on a list of priorities developed by a committee of citizens who advised the county on 1 percent projects.

The project took greater urgency after the Wyoming Water Commission decided to tear up part of the road to replace two water lines. The county hopes to save money by piggybacking on the state project.

Engineers looked at three options for the project: keeping the road the same width; building a road with a 5-foot path and two, 3-foot shoulders within the existing 60-foot right-of-way; and widening the right-of-way by 10 feet on either side and its features.

Extending the right-of-way is tricky, Dowl HKM engineer Diane Oress explained.

Several fences and some trees are already within the right-of-way, she said. Utilities and irrigation ditches also would have to be relocated, and the county would have to acquire land.

Furthermore, a widened right-of-way would be within 3 feet of a house, Oress said.

The second option also had disadvantages.

"Without right-of-way expansion we'd be shoehorning a roadway and pathway into a 60-foot right-of-way, and it wouldn't meet design standards," Oress said.

Design standards ensure a road is safe for the posted speed limit.

Not adding shoulders or a path would fail to address the purpose of the project, which is to make the road safer for motorists and pedestrians, county transportation superintendent Dave Pendleton said. The county also has a grant for adding the pathway that it will have to give back if the feature is not part of the project.

Nine landowners own 13 parcels along the section of road, and the reaction from them so far had not been supportive.

"I'd say the majority were not in favor of the project going in front of their house," Oress said.

Commissioners said they were not ready to make a decision on which option to pursue.

Designers presented the 60-foot and 80-foot right-of-way options to represent the extremes, with the understanding they would likely settle on something in between, Oress said.

Oress indicated designers would develop such an option.

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