WYDOT details upcoming projects

WYDOT District 3 Public Relations Specialist Stephanie Harsha and other state representatives were in Evanston last week to seek input on upcoming projects and explain the organization’s functions. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Representatives from Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) held an open house in the Superintendent’s Building at the Evanston Roundhouse & Railyards Complex on Thursday, Aug. 18. The purpose of the meeting was to obtain public input regarding WYDOT’s planned projects in Uinta County, hear what local agencies are working on and provide an overview of WYDOT.

District 3 Public Relations Specialist Stephanie Harsha greeted guests.

“Welcome. The purpose of this open house is to give the public information on WYDOT’s projects. Our information is easily viewed on the posters and if you have any questions, we are all available to answer them. Please take your time and preview the information.” She then introduced the other WYDOT representatives: district traffic engineer Darin Kaufman, interim district engineer Peter Stinchcomb, and resident engineer Damon Newsome.

Stinchcomb, who had prepared a detailed outline of the State Transportation Improvement Project (STIP) for the years 2023 through 2028, explained on posters hung around the room. Information on the posters also provided a summary of WYDOT’s mission and responsibilities. Its mission, one poster read, is to provide a safe and effective transportation system and their main purpose is supporting Wyoming’s economy while safely connecting communities and improving the quality of life.

WYDOT’s goals include not only providing a safe, reliable and effective transportation system, but also preserving Wyoming’s history and heritage. Officials also emphasized their principles of matching expenditures with revenue and addressing safety, mobility and efficiency.

The department is responsible for 6,700 miles of roads, 6,000 bridges and structures, 42,200 culverts, 800 miles of guardrail, 80,000 signs and 12,000 miles of fence. Offices and duties include: engineering and planning, construction, maintenance, equipment, facilities, traffic, emergency communications, 24-hour transportation management center and a road condition website.

WYDOT provides for highway patrol troopers; it manages ports of entry; dispatch; and provides executive protection. It also oversees an aeronautics division, the driver’s license department, motor vehicle compliance and investigation, titles, registration and license plates. WTDOT’s support programs include: budget, fuel tax administration, grants, contracts, human resource, employee safety, public affairs, planning, transit and interaction with local governments.

Officials said WYDOT manages all of these duties and responsibilities with revenue that does not meet all of their needs, so some major construction projects throughout the state have to be delayed. The national average for funding of state transportation departments shows 70% of funding comes from the state and 30% from the federal government. WYDOT, by contrast, only gets 29% funding from the state and 71% from the federal government. 

Based on WYDOT fiscal year 2019 funding data, the department’s financial needs exceed current revenues. The result is a decreased ability to maintain WYDOT’s mission, operating demands, unit needs and assets in their current condition. Some projects displayed on one of the posters showed surface transportation projects per year delayed over 10 years based on total need. STIP includes electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

“The proposal is that there will be charging stations every 50 miles across Wyoming,” Newsome said. “Some will be in towns so people will have to divert off the highway to reach them and others might be along the highway at rest stations.”

The state’s role is to provide infrastructure to support whatever type of vehicle is driven, he said. WYDOT will form a team consisting of federal, state and local entities to provide a coordinated approach and will assist communities in finding available funds. State assets will not be used to install, own or operate EV infrastructure. Funding is up to 80% federal with a 20% match.

WYDOT has identified 44 bridge replacement or rehabilitation projects within 29 agencies and the projects will be worked on from 2025-2029. Currently, WTDOT is looking for a consultant to manage and design the projects.

Current annual local projects in Uinta County are bridge rehabs, crack seals, chip seals, contract patch and Wyolink towers — for a public safety communications system — in isolated locations. 

Other projects in Uinta County include:

• Evanston to Hilliard Flat on Hwy 150 from milepost 2.46 to 12.84: hot in-place recycling, — a method that rehabilitates deteriorated asphalt pavements and thereby minimizes the use of new materials — and right-of-way fencing;

• Mountain View to Lonetree on Hwy 414 from milepost 110.63 to 120: mill and overlay and pipe cleaning

• Evanston streets: American Disabilities Act (ADA), bicycle and pedestrian improvements

Local projects set for 2023 include:

• Interstate 80 and Hwy 150 at Exit 5 eastbound: traffic lights and ADA upgrades

• Evanston streets: City View Drive, Sioux Drive and Del Rio Drive reconstruction; and 6th Street overpass decorative railing and lighting

2027 local projects are:

• Mountain View to Lonetree on Hwy 414 from milepost 120-130: Mill, level and overlay

• Evanston to Utah on Hwy 150 BRRV section from milepost 1.15 to 11.59: full-depth reclamation, 3-inch overlay and chip seal.

Projects in Uinta County for years 2028-2029 include:

• I-80 (both westbound and eastbound) in Lyman from milepost 28 to 34.22: mill, overlay and wearing course

Local governments can visit https://www.dot.state.wy.us/stip with questions or to learn about funding, construction partnerships and supply purchases. Interested parties with questions can also contact the Rock Springs office at 307-352-3065.

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