Maybe you’ve heard of SPET, but what about STIP?
For those who care about roads, pathways and wildlife crossings, the STIP is a six-year blueprint for road projects in Wyoming and Teton County.
More formally dubbed the State Transportation Improvement Program, the STIP spells out road project priorities for the Wyoming Department of Transportation based on state and federal funding and other factors. WYDOT creates a “dynamic” STIP for its construction goals, which can evolve depending on costs and unanticipated obstacles.
In Teton County the latest STIP features high-profile projects from the continued widening of South Highway 89 to planning the Tribal Trail Connector to the future of Highway 22.
The draft fiscal year 2020 STIP, which sets priorities through 2026, is open to public comment at DOT.State.WY.us/stip. It won’t be final until October following approval from the Wyoming Transportation Commission.
Here’s what’s on tap for Teton County in the draft 2020 STIP:
1. South Highway 89 widening
When: Fiscal year 2019
Cost: $67.5 million
WYDOT plans to embark on the second phase of widening South Highway 89 all the way to Hoback Junction. Crews will wrap up the first phase — from South Park Loop to Munger Mountain Elementary School — in July.
The next phase, the highway’s southern 4-mile portion, will extend the five-lane highway south to Hoback Junction. That project came in 26% over budget, and was awarded to Oftedal Construction for more than $67 million. Work should be concluded in July 2022.
The project includes three new wildlife crossings, in addition to three built on the north section of Highway 89, plus a pathway connecting Jackson to Hoback, WYDOT Resident Engineer Bob Hammond said.
2. Pavement rehabilitation from High School Road to South Park Loop
When: Fiscal Year 2019
Estimated cost: $2.8 million
The five-lane section of highway that runs from High School Road to the Melody Ranch neighborhood was built about 20 years ago, Hammond said, and needs repair.
“The pavement is starting to really show deterioration,” he said. “It’s gone through its useful life.”
WYDOT plans to mill off an inch of pavement and lay down 2 more inches to extend the pavement’s life by 10 to 15 years. The project will be bid to a contractor in July and wrap up by July 2020.
3. Tribal Trail Connector and
intersection with Highway 22 When: Fiscal Year 2021
Estimated cost: $1.5 million for intersection
The proposed Tribal Trail Connector would be a county road, but Teton County has hired WYDOT to perform planning, design and construction. The connector linking South Park Loop and Highway 22 is called for in the town and county’s Comprehensive Plan and Integrated Transportation Plan.
Teton County commissioners have convened a stakeholder group, held an initial public meeting and allocated $750,000 toward planning for Tribal Trail over the next year. The contract with WYDOT allows Teton County to decide not to move forward with the project at various junctures, such as concept and final design phases.
While the county would pay for the connector itself, WYDOT would pay for the redesign of the intersection integrating the connector with Highway 22.
“If the county moves forward with that project we need to be ready for it,” Hammond said. “So we have some money set aside in our budget to do that work that we said we would pay for.”
Pavement rehabilitation of Snake River canyon
When: Fiscal year 2021
Estimated cost: $3.2 million
Though technically a Lincoln County project, this mill and overlay project to fix a segment of pavement in the Snake River Canyon will affect many Teton County workers and commuters. The highway section in question runs about 5 miles south from the Teton County line.
The canyon road was built 20 years age, and the maintenance will extend its life at a lower cost, Hammond said.
5. Snake River Bridge replacement and Highway 22/390 intersection revamp
When: Fiscal year 2023
Estimated cost: $29 million
The replacement of the Snake River bridge on Highway 22 is the top bridge priority in the state because its deck is crumbling and at the end of its life, engineers say. The narrowness and traffic volume the structure sees also make it difficult to perform maintenance or handle accidents, and it’s the only link to the West Bank and Wilson area.
Planning is already underway to replace the failing bridge with a four-lane structure with a median.
Because the intersection of Highways 22 and 390 is so close to the bridge, WYDOT plans to reinvent the intersection as well.
According to WYDOT’s analysis, the best design for the new intersection at Highways 22 and 390 is something called a “Florida T.” That means widening the main roadway to four lanes while also providing a couple of “slip” lanes for vehicles that don’t have to stop at the intersection.
One slip lane will direct eastbound traffic around the intersection while the other will allow westbound Highway 22 drivers to turn right onto Highway 390 without stopping.
Stakeholder subcommittees and consultants are working on how to incorporate wildlife crossings into the designs, as well as how to ensure future transit needs can be accommodated. The design process for the bridge and intersection is underway.
6. Swinging Bridge
When: Fiscal year 2023
Estimated cost: $4 million
WYDOT is partnering with Teton County to replace the failing century-old bridge in Hoback. Swinging Bridge provides a second access to Hog Island homes on the east side of the Snake River.
The bridge will be replaced under the state’s Bridge Replacement “Off System” program, which means WYDOT will cover about 90% of project costs and the county will fund a 10% match.
7. Additional Teton Pass vehicle arrestor
When: Fiscal year 2026
Estimated cost: $4.6 million
A second vehicle arrestor is planned to be built on Teton Pass.
Vehicle arrestors are intended to reduce the risk of head-on incidents by allowing runaway vehicles to safely veer off the road without crossing traffic. They’re a series of steel nets that absorb the force of a vehicle.
According to WYDOT, a second arrestor is needed. The preferred location is close to the bottom of the pass near Wilson. Because of the 5.2-mile descent down the pass’s steep grade on Highway 22 eastbound toward Wilson, one arrestor isn’t enough for all the errant vehicles whose brakes stop working, according to WYDOT.
“Having one arrestor a few miles below the pass has shown to capture runaway vehicles and prevent accidents,” District Engineer Keith Compton said. “An additional arrestor somewhere else will further reduce the risk and danger to the driver, passing motorists, pathway users, as well as the residents of Wilson.”
8. Planning for Highway 22 from the “Y” to 22/390
When: Fiscal year 2026
Estimated cost: $5.3 million
The draft STIP includes $5.3 million earmarked for the section of Highway 22 from the “Y” intersection with Broadway to Highway 390. That amount couldn’t cover construction, Hammond said, so it’s meant for planning purposes.
“It looks like they’re putting something in there to start the [National Environmental Policy Act] process for that section of road,” Hammond said.
9.Hoback area landslide repair
When: Fiscal year 2026
Estimated cost: None
WYDOT hopes to fix a small landslide at the edge of the guardrail just south of Hoback Junction for Highway 89, Hammond said.