From a much needed bridge upgrade over the Shoshone River to lighting installations in a tunnel west of Cody, residents and tourists should be prepared to see a lot of orange on regional roadways in the coming months.
Cody Beers, public relations specialist for the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s District 5, said nine projects are anticipated in and around the Cody and Powell area over the coming summer months. Beers said drivers should anticipate at least short delays when traveling through the project areas.
“Our number one goal in WYDOT is making sure our crews are able to do their job safely,” Beers said. “I always say that people need to ‘give those crews a brake.’ Slow down. Put down your phone. Give them a chance to feel safe doing their jobs. They are not trying to inconvenience you — they are just trying to make our roads a little safer, and they need your help in doing that.”
All of the projects being done in Park County this year are part of WYDOT’s “State Transportation Improvement Plan,” or STIP, which identifies high-priority road and bridge projects across the state, he said.
Project start and completion dates are tentative and influenced by factors such as weather and availability of necessary materials and equipment, Beers said.
“We are still waiting for some stuff we ordered in 2020,” he said. “Sometimes, we get what we order right away and sometimes we don’t. So that unpredictabilitly definitely creates challenges in this industry.”
Below is a summary of the anticipated road construction projects in and around the Cody area this year. The estimated costs come from the STIP plan, which can be found at www.dot.state.wy.us/STIP.
Perhaps the biggest project this year is a rehabilitation of the WYO 120 bridge near the Park County Law Enforcement Center, Beers said. The work will involve replacing and rehabilitating the existing structure bridge, and updating the guardrail and pavement.
The bridge will be rehabilitated one half at a time, he said, but WYDOT hopes to maintain two-way traffic on the other half of the bridge while the work takes place.
Beers said the department’s goal is to maintain traffic flow on the bridge at all times with minimal, if any, delays.
The project is currently supposed to begin in early June and expected to be concluded by September.
Cost is estimated at $3 million.
Replacement of the existing tunnel lighting system in the big tunnel west of Cody on U.S. 14-16-20 began on May 1 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31 of this year, Beers said.
Work will take place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. six nights a week, he said, and drivers should expect delays of up to 10 minutes when driving during those times.
The project is expected to cost $5.18 million.
Milling, overlay, chip sealing and slope flattening are being performed on a five-mile section of US 14-16-20 between Trout Creek and the Buffalo Bill State Park campground and boat launch.
Drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes, and the project is expected to be completed this year, Beers said.
The expected cost is $6.3 million.
YNP to Fishhawk
The department will be finishing up work on the stretch of US 14/16/20 between the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the Fishhawk Trailhead, Beers said.
While the bulk of that 10-mile pavement overlay project was completed last year, there remains some unfinished work on chip sealing and reclamation, he said. That work is expected to begin in June and will be completed within a week.
The total project costs around $5.4 million.
Crews will be performing roughly nine miles of pavement leveling, paving, chip sealing and guard rail work on US 14A near Burgess Junction east of Lovell, starting later this summer, Beers said.
While it may be complete in 2023, he said the project has a completion date of June 30, 2024, so it could continue to next summer.
Drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes once the project is underway, Beers said. It’s expected to cost $7.6 million.
The department will be performing roughly eight miles of mill, overlay and chip seal work on US 310 and WYO 789 between Deaver and the Montana state line near Frannie, Beers said.
The project is expected to begin in June and be completed by Oct. 31, he said, with travel delays of roughly 20 minutes.
The project is expected to cost $4.5 million.
Mill and overlay work will take place on roughly four miles of US 14A near Sidon Canal between Garland and Byron.
There is currently no start date for this project, which carries a completion date of Aug. 31, 2024, Beers said. While it is possible the project could begin this year, it will not be completed in 2023 and could be pushed in its entirety to 2024. Delays are expected once the project begins.
The project is expected to cost $2.6 million.
New warning sign
A damaged electrical warning sign is being replaced on US 14A near milemarker 68.5, Beers said. The project is expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend of this year, and will cost roughly $200,000.
The last major construction project of the year is located at the Badger Basin section of WYO 294, beginning at the intersection of 294 and US 14A and continuing to milemarker 9.84.
The project involves pavement overlay, chip sealing, minor slope flattening and guardrail repairs, Beers said. The majority of the project is expected to be completed this year, with chip sealing work likely in the summer of 2024.
The project is expected to cost $6 million.
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