Worland Area News 11-21-18

Written by on November 21, 2018

At yesterday’s Washakie County Commissioners meeting, the commission conducted normal business, with department reports from Road and Bridge, Building Maintenance, Homeland Security and others.
Road and Bridge will be losing Stuart Bower as he is stepping away from the position. A process to name a new Road and Bridge Supervisor will begin soon, but no details were discussed Tuesday. Road Maintenance and a few small projects are currently keeping the road and bridge crew busy, with winter approaching, preparation for winter road plowing and sanding has begun.
Facilities Manager Tom Schmeltzer informed the board that Search and Rescue would like to convert one of the two restrooms at their facility into an autopsy room. Schmeltzer suggested changing the men’s room to a unisex bathroom with a door lock and converting the women’s bathroom into the autopsy room as it already has a drain in place.
Jeff Schweigert, Director of Homeland Security for Washakie County updated the commissioners on the upcoming large scale exercise and training of the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Some logistical issues still exist, but the training is scheduled to go on as planned.

For a number of years, money has existed for a potential expansion of the Washakie County Library. Terry Livingston with the Library Board stopped by Tuesday’s commissioners meeting to discuss potential landing spots for the library.
New construction seems to be out of the question given cost, but a move, perhaps even downtown was discussed. If the library did move, there would have to be renovations done to almost any building they acquired. Currently the library is about 8,000 square feet and a 2006 survey suggested libraries should have about 15,000 square feet, this may not be possible in Worland. The commissioners suggested Livingston look at all the logistical and planning work the county has done in the past and are willing to help look into potential grants and other funds, but the library and those who support it may have to accept less than they want in a new or updated facility.

Washakie County Commissioner Fred Frandson informed the media in attendance that the county had received many comments about the Lower Nowood Road near Ten Sleep and Washakie Ten outside of Worland. To dispel any rumors, the commissioners have no intention of closing either road, the intent of the commission is to alleviate damage that is caused by heavier truck traffic and out of state travel.
A common argument that Frandson wanted to dismiss, was that the use of the Lower Nowood Road is faster than coming through Worland and going to another destination. The example he gave was a trip from Buffalo, through Worland, and into Powell. The trip through Worland was 172 miles and took three hours and three minutes. The route through Manderson, via the Lower Nowood Road is 8 miles shorter, at 164 miles, but actually takes three hours and seven minutes, due to the fact the speed limit on the Lower Nowood is only 50 miles per hour.
As for the local traffic and the attempts to divert traffic, the county cannot restrict traffic to even local only, because federal road funds have been used on bridges on that route. Instead, the commissioners and the county want to put up signs about road damage, a faster alternate route using Highway 16/20 and inform travelers of reduced speeds. Public safety and road health are the main concerns for the Washakie County Commissioners. There is not enough funding to upkeep the Lower Nowood Road or Washakie Ten, they are county roads, not state roads.

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