The gravel portion of Spring Gulch Road may be paved as soon as next summer.
“I’m sure that people will be very happy to know that the road is going to be paved, because it’s gotten so degraded,” said Joan Anzelmo, a resident of Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, the neighborhood just north of the byway in question. “So if that’s happening, that’s great.”
Whether the paving will happen will depend in part on whether the Teton County Board of County Commissioners approves a contract Monday with Inberg-Miller Engineers. That’s one of two firms that bid to design and oversee paving the straightaway that runs from Lucas Riva Ridge Road to Bar BC Ranch Road.
The total cost to the county, if the elected officials approve the contract, is set at $114,250.
Paving the road was last discussed at length publicly in 2019, when Public Works held a workshop to talk about how to slow traffic on the straightaway when it’s paved.
Director of Public Works Heather Overholser told the Jackson Hole Daily that, in the past two or so years, her department has been trying to secure easements to widen the right of way for the paved road, aiming to include a bike path, more speed-calming measures and snow storage.
But those easements have not come through, and the department is proposing a “narrower width than the existing gravel segment” to deter speeding.
Overholser said a narrower road would be safer.
In 2019, there wasn’t consensus on any of the proposed speed measures, which included pavement markings, radar feedback signs like the ones that flash speeds to Highway 390 users, and speed tables.
In a staff report, Teton County Engineer Amy Ramage said those measures would be considered as the road is designed, but she recognized that, with the exception of speed radar, most were unpopular.
The staff report says that “details of the design will be developed once engineering is underway.” Designs for the paved section of road are set to be brought to commissioners for review before plans are finalized.
As it stands, maintenance of the road is costly. And when road crews go out to grade and repair the byway, it requires the county to close the road. That necessitates a drive through Grand Teton National Park for residents of Golf and Tennis and other neighborhoods to the north of Bar BC Ranch Road.
Overholser said paving the road will reduce Teton County’s maintenance costs.
“Maintaining gravel roads is expensive and burdensome,” she said. “We have to do it multiple times a year.”
If the contract is approved, Overholser said, construction won’t begin until the 2022 season.
Commissioners are set to consider the contract during their Monday voucher meeting, which is set to start at 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ chambers at 200 S. Willow St.