South Fork Road Project Short-Listed for Major Funding
Written by Andrew-Rossi on March 18, 2021
A project to increase public access to public lands along the South Fork Road has been selected as a short-list contender for $14 million of funding.
Park County has been informed that its latest application for major South Fork roadwork has been accepted and shortlisted by the Wyoming Program Decision Committee. It is now under the consideration of the Wyoming Federal Lands Access Program.
Pending final approval, the proposed project will primarily involve road widening County Road 6WX from 24 feet to 32 feet. Shoulders and drainage infrastructure will be improved at the same time.
This will “enhance public access to BLM and Shoshone National Forest recreation sites” for residents and visitors.
The project could also include:
• Minor realignment (horizontal/vertical) to improve site distance.
• Excavation and grading
• Asphalt paving
• Better striping and signage for road safety.
This proposal comes with an endorsement from the US Forest Service, BLM, Wyoming Game & Fish Commission, and numerous recreation groups.
“This is great news for Park County,” says Brian Edwards, Park County Engineer. “The FLAP application process is very competitive with limited funds and no shortage of worthwhile projects. The fact that our project was selected for further consideration is evident of the quality and value of public lands that we are fortunate to have in Park County.”
WY FLAP PAR 6WX (2) would be a continuation of South Fork Federal Lands Access Project which concluded in September 2020. That was full-depth reclamation of approximately six miles of pavement and re-graveling 7 miles of the existing base segment of the South Fork Road.
Called “impossible in years past, the final result took two years and $14 million to complete.
The projected cost of the next phase of intended work is nearly $23 million dollars. If approved, the Federal Highway Administration would cover half the cost – $14.1 million.
The construction schedule for the South Fork Road project – if selected for funding – is two phases scheduled for 2026 and 2027.
Edwards admits this is “further out” than hoped, but that’s ultimately better for South Fork residents. It will give them a break after the extensive construction of 2019 and 2020.
An extended timeline will also give the Park County Commissioners more time to assemble a
15% match of eligible costs. The match – which would be roughly $2.12 million – is required for the project to be considered and accepted.
It’s the same agreement reached for the first project on South Fork Road. Much of the money came from the county’s 1% specific purpose sales tax.
There are no commitments – yet. The letter clarifies that “this project is not competing against other short-listed projects, but rather verification of the merits and defining the scope of work, costs, and schedule.”
The county has until May 3 to complete revisions and resubmit the application. Several aspects – including the county’s required match of 15% – could be altered if and when the project is approved.
Final selection by the Wyoming Federal Lands Access Program will take place in late 2021 or early 2022.
“We are excited that we will be able to continue efforts to improve County Road 6WX (Southfork) for the benefit of Park County citizens,” Edwards says. “Although there is no shortage of road and bridge infrastructure needs throughout the County, any time the County is able to secure 85% federal funding for a major capital improvements project, it is a win/win situation for the citizens of Park County.”