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Road project near Gas Hills gets $1.5M grant

Oct 19, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Several mining companies are receiving help through a state grant to rebuild a road accessing the Gas Hills area.

On Oct. 3, the Wyoming State Loans and Investments Board awarded $1.5 million for the effort through a Business Ready Community grant.

"The next step is to try to solidify the remainder of the funding necessary to do the project," said Fremont County transportation superintendent Dave Pendleton.

More funds are necessary before the project can begin, and they likely would come from the companies involved and the Abandoned Mine Lands program, Pendleton said. He expects the total cost to be about $4.2 million.

The road would provide access to developments that Cameco Resources and Energy Fuels, Inc., are planning in the area. A Umetco property also would abut the road.

Discussions about rebuilding the road stalled in July. Parties were counting on $3.3 million total from the state grant, AML funds and Umetco.

That still left about an $900,000 gap, Pendleton said at the time.

Other companies will have to make up that difference for the project to move forward.

Parties involved also have to finalize the route, Pendleton said.

Project details

The project will improve or build a new route for a 7.6-mile stretch of Dry Creek Road that connects Wyoming Highway 136, also called Gas Hills Road, to the county line and Natrona County's portion of Dry Creek Road.

The road's current route crosses an Energy Fuels mining claim. Discussions about the road in the past suggested building a new route that would avoid Energy Fuels' stake.

Fremont County officially has applied for the loan and plans to administer the funds but will not contribute its own money to the project, Pendleton said. Once completed to county standards, the new road would become the county's and be maintained by the transportation department.

The Wyoming Business Council approved the loan application Sept. 5, but it still needed the SLIB's final ratification.

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