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Posted on: January 31, 2022

Public Works Year in Review

Alta County Roads resurfacing

– Teton County Public Works is hitting the ground running in 2022 with a number of projects ranging from water quality, wildlife crossings, and transportation. 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look back at 2021 to highlight some of the success the year brought Public Works. 

BUILD Grant (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Grants Program)

In September 2020, Teton County, serving as the applicant and lead agency representing seven entities in western Wyoming and eastern Idaho, was awarded $20,000,000 in BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant funds for the Teton Mobility Corridor Improvements (TMCI) project. Since then, the County and partners, such as the Town of Jackson and Idaho Transportation Department, have committed an additional $8,000,000 to the project that highlights 13 multimodal improvements along the Idaho Highway 33 and Wyoming Highway 22 corridor between Driggs, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming.  

In June 2021, Teton County hired Jorgensen Associates to spearhead all BUILD grant project components and programs. Due to the complexity, expertise needed, and workload, the Jorgensen team includes 10 firms, which are working on the project as subcontractors. 

Jorgensen Associates kicked off the project in July, providing qualified technical and professional personnel to perform all phases of grant administration, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), project planning, design and engineering, public engagement, right-of-way acquisition, compliance with Federal regulations, grant funds reimbursement, construction administration/management and reporting for all 13 project components.

Throughout 2021, Teton County and sub-consultant Alta Planning + Design, Inc. worked with the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and a Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from the Wilson Community and Teton School District #1, to explore multi-modal improvements for the Wilson transportation corridor as one project component of BUILD. The concept safely accommodates motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians on and parallel to Wyoming Highway 22 through Wilson. The plan addresses a variety of areas, including vehicular capacity and safety, access management, parking, pathway development, safe routes to school, pedestrian crossings, and aesthetics. The recommended plan was presented to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners on January 31, 2022 during a workshop, and will be brought to the Board at a later date for adoption. 

Teton Pass Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) Grant 

Another component of transportation network planning is the Teton Pass Corridor Study FLAP Grant. In 2021, Teton County, in cooperation with WYDOT and the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, was awarded a coveted Federal grant through the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) to study the greater Teton Pass area on Wyoming Highway 22 from the Victor Transit Center in Victor, Idaho to the Stilson Transit Center in Wilson, Wyoming. The funds will be used for transportation safety related projects for roads that improve access to Federal lands. The first public meeting took place on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. 

County Roads

On the west side of the hill in Alta, Ski Hill and Alta North Roads received a makeover thanks to a Public Works repaving project. Lower Ski Hill Road, which is used to access Grand Targhee Resort, was approaching the end of its service life. Considering Teton County’s Comprehensive Plan Common Values of Ecosystem Stewardship, Growth Management, and Quality of Life, project consultant Inberg-Miller Engineers (IME) determined that using an innovative heater repaving technology would be a safe, durable, and cost-effective option. 

Heater repaving simultaneously recycles and resurfaces the roadway, using 35% less energy than conventional paving methods, while also recycling existing aggregate surfacing material. Lower energy consumption provides costs savings and results in lower emissions and energy conservation. The newly resurfaced road provides a safe and comfortable ride for residents and visitors, whether in a vehicle or on a bike. 

Teton County saved $24,165 per-mile using hot in-place recycled repaving compared to a traditional overlay, based on bids received for the project. 

“This project is a great example of how emerging construction technology can provide an excellent quality product at a reduced price,” said Teton County Engineer Amy Ramage. 

The Alta Area County Roads repaving project has been submitted to the Wyoming Engineering Society to be considered for the 2021 President’s Project of the Year Award.  

Hoback South Road also underwent an important safety improvement project with the help of consultant Meridian Engineering, improving the road geometry, installing retaining walls and stabilizing the slopes on the road southeast of the Hoback River bridge. 

 

Water Quality 

Toward the end of the year, Teton County hired its first Public Works Project Manager, Chris Colligan, who will oversee many critical projects in the County, including leading the Water Quality planning process.

In December, Teton County Commissioners approved a Partner Letter of Agreement between the County, Teton Conservation District, Town of Jackson, and Protect our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) to work on the Water Quality Plan. The 18-month effort kicked off in early 2022 with the goal of understanding existing and potential future human-caused threats to both surface water and groundwater quality and developing strategies to mitigate threats. 

Also in December, Teton County Commissioners approved a consultant contract with Trihydro Corporation, an engineering and environmental consulting firm based out of Laramie, Wyoming, who has partnered with Flitner Strategies of Jackson to facilitate public information and engagement on Water Quality planning. 

 

In 2021, engineering staff also implemented a comprehensive update to the Small Wastewater Facility (Septic System) regulations, which provide protections to water quality above and beyond those required by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. These rules went into effect at the start of 2022. 

 

Pathways Project Highlights and Progress 

In 2022, cyclists will enjoy a less bumpy ride on the South Park Loop Pathway along 3 Creek Ranch after root removal and pathway repairs. The project was completed in the fall and came in under budget.

Also in 2021, Jackson Hole Community Pathways, in partnership with the Teton Mobility Project, completed public outreach and route analysis to identify deficiencies and future improvements to the current pathway and sidewalk system. A proposed project list will be presented to the Town Council and Board of County Commissioners at a Joint Information Meeting (JIM) in Spring 2022.

Coinciding with BUILD, Jackson Hole Community Pathways coordinated with WYDOT and other agencies to design a pathway between Fish Creek and Stilson in Wilson, with construction scheduled for 2023. Community Pathways also worked on the preliminary design and planning for a 3-mile segment from Trail Creek Campground to Coal Creek on Teton Pass.  

Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR)

ISWR kicked off 2021 by announcing the grand opening of the Food Waste Composting Facility and began accepting food waste in February. Since then, over 11 tons of food waste have been collected and diverted from the landfill. In the spring, ISWR was able to decrease labor costs, operating hours, and increase overall recycling efficiency by upgrading the recycling center’s baler, which is used to compress recyclable materials into small, manageable bales. 

In August, staff submitted an operating permit renewal application to Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for Recycling Center and Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities and was given a lifetime approval. In the fall, ISWR introduced a recycle app, making it easier for residents to get local disposal information and become better, more informed recyclers. And to end 2021, ISWR introduced a new initiative on the Road to Zero Waste by introducing a mattress recycling program in partnership with Spring Back Utah. To highlight just how busy the Recycling Center was in 2021, ISWR collected and recycled 1,425 tons of scrap metal – that’s almost 3,000,000 pounds.  

2022 will be another busy hear for Public Works with projects lined up that include BUILD grant project component NEPA and preliminary design, wildlife crossing planning and design, Spring Gulch Road paving, vegetation mitigation at Cattleman’s Bridge, and the Wilson to Stilson pathway.

“County Public Works is thrilled with what was accomplished in 2021 and has already hit the ground running with projects slated to begin in 2022,” said Teton County Public Works Director Heather Overholser.  

To keep up to date with the latest Public Works projects, please visit the Teton County Public Works website at https://tetoncountywy.gov/516/Public-Works.

 

Alta Area County Roads “Before” Photo

 

Alta Area County Roads “After” Photo