Stimulus money to benefit Wyoming roads
$166.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
March 15, 2009
Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed the necessary transportation-related certifications to satisfy U.S. Department of Transportation requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. WYDOT will soon begin dozens of improvement projects which will improve hundreds of miles of roadway and related infrastructure, while supporting a substantial number and variety of construction-related jobs throughout Wyoming.
In keeping with the intent of the stimulus effort, the work will be spread out across the state, will be applied in both rural and urban areas, and will benefit a variety of economic sectors.
Agency officials have been working with a figure of $157.6 million to draw up a tentative schedule for letting stimulus-funded road and enhancement projects to contract, with an additional allocation of $9.1 million for transit projects.
Stimulus dollars to fund urban and rural transit operations across the state will be used primarily to acquire new vans and buses, including hybrid and alternative fuel models, and to add pullouts, passenger shelters and bus garages
A range of road-related projects being prepared for letting include urban street reconstruction and numerous local enhancement projects, pavement overlays, snow-fence upgrades, and bridge deck repairs. To accommodate the influx of stimulus dollars, WYDOT will double up its contract letting schedule for April and May, from monthly to bi-monthly. In addition, the normal bid advertising period of four weeks is being shortened to three weeks.
"The stimulus act sets a 120-day time frame for getting shovel-ready projects let to contract, and we will meet that goal," WYDOT Chief Engineer Del McOmie said. "Wyoming has a backlog of road improvement needs and this funding will help us accelerate our efforts to meet those needs." States meeting the contract deadlines may become eligible for additional dollars at a later date as unused funds are redistributed, a possibility WYDOT hopes will benefit Wyoming as well.
Notable stimulus projects include widening and reconstructing 3.6 miles of US 14A at the northeast edge of Cody, widening and resurfacing 10 miles of US 18 west of Lusk, reconstructing 1.3 miles of West Lincolnway (I-80 Business Route) in Cheyenne and undertaking a "dowel-bar retrofit" to smooth out the ride and extend pavement life on 15.4 miles of I-80 in the Rock Springs and Green River area.
"Our staff is working quickly to ensure the best use of funding," McOmie said. "Also, we’re coordinating closely with Federal Highway Administration officials here in Wyoming to iron out the details of requirements which accompany the funding. We appreciate their hard work on our behalf."
"Wyoming will benefit greatly from the expected projects, which will increase the safety of our roads," Wyoming Contractors Association Executive Vice President Jonathan Downing said. "While it is a large amount of work coming in a short period of time, I am confident Wyoming contractors will get the job done. Our members look forward to getting these jobs started and putting people to work."
A Federal Highway Administration analysis shows about 280 jobs being sustained or created by every $10 million dollars invested in road improvement. Employment estimates account for workers employed in a work zone itself, including engineers, supervisors, equipment operators and laborers, and also indirect jobs -- those working in supporting roles such as miners, refinery operators, mechanics and suppliers.