Hwy 22 won’t be wider until spring of 2013
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 11, 2012
State transportation officials won’t widen the shoulder of Highway 22 to provide more room for cyclists this year.
They had been trying to do the project this fall, but didn’t have time. Instead, they plan to add a few feet of pavement next spring to the shoulders at Brown’s Curve and the entrance to the Bar Y subdivision.
The furor that erupted last month after crews re-striped the highway prompted the decision, officials said.
“They did make a great effort to try to get it in this season,” WYDOT spokeswoman Stephanie Harsha said. “It wasn’t going to be feasible because of a combination of things.”
The widened road should be com-pleted by next June. Crews will restore the shoulders to their previous 8-foot width.
The work will be added to projects already scheduled. The contract is supposed to be bid by the end of the year.
Last month, crews hired to re-stripe parts of Highway 22 changed the configuration of the road at Brown’s Curve and at the entrance to the Bar Y Subdivision.
At those points they added a center turn lane. The width of the road stayed the same, which meant the shoulders narrowed.
The unannounced change sent bicyclists and even motorists into a fury. Some said the slimmed-down shoulders — reduced to roughly 3.5 to 4 feet — made the dangerous bike commute from Wilson to Jackson even worse.
WYDOT officials added the turn lanes to keep traffic moving safely. Traffic on Highway 22 often moves at 55 mph or faster in the summer, and the turn lanes provide an island of safety for left-turning motorists.
Crews painted two 10-foot-wide turn lanes at Brown’s curve and at Bar Y. Before the work, the two sections of highway each had two 12-foot-wide drive lanes and 8-foot-wide shoulders, which are precious real estate for cyclists who brave the busy highway.
Bicyclists riding along Highway 22 are likely to be a big part of WYDOT’s plans for reconstructing state roads in the area. WYDOT is just starting to look at ways to improve Highway 22 from town to Wilson and Highway 390 to Teton Village.
The public can comment about the plans at 22-390corridorstudy.com. WYDOT’s Jackson office can be reached at 733-3665.