WYDOT initiates project for WY 22 corridor between Jackson and Wilson
JACKSON, Wyo. (KIFI) - The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with the Town of Jackson and Teton County, have initiated an environmental and design project on WYO 22. The WYO 22 Corridor Project extends from the Y-intersection with Broadway Avenue through Wilson.
This section of WYO 22 has the dubious distinction of being Wyoming’s busiest and most congested two-lane highway. In 2014, WYDOT worked with Teton County and the Town of Jackson to complete a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study for WYO 22 that also included WYO 390. The study, which involved considerable public and stakeholder engagement, established a vision for the two highways and an ‘implementation plan’ that prioritized different improvements. The highest priority identified—the Snake River Bridge replacement— is scheduled for construction starting spring of 2023. The WYO 22 Corridor project is part of WYDOT’s larger plan to implement recommendations from the PEL study, as funding allows.
WYDOT originally had planned to start the environmental and design project in 2026 but decided to advance the project to start sooner. Bob Hammond, WYDOT’s Resident Engineer, said that daily traffic on WYO 22 has increased by 20 percent over the last 10 years. He added that traffic growth during peak travel hours were even higher during this timeframe, with approximately 30 percent growth in the morning peak hour and 17 percent in the evening peak hour.
“I’m constantly receiving complaints about congestion on the highway, ranging from parents unable to pick up their kids from school to frustrated skiers on a powder day. One of my biggest concerns is our emergency providers not being able to quickly respond to calls because of congestion,” Hammond said.
Last September, after a competitive process, WYDOT awarded a contract to a consulting team to provide technical support for the project. Transportation needs and improvements to WYO 22 will be identified over the next year—working with an advisory committee comprised of stakeholders representing different interests. WYDOT will hold public meetings and provide various other ways for the public to offer their opinions.
Hammond commented this project will examine multimodal aspects, like pathway and transit improvements with the highway enhancements.
“WYDOT wants to improve mobility through the corridor,” Hammond said.
He added this project will build off other studies and identify a corridor-wide approach to improving wildlife connections across the corridor.
“Wildlife mitigation is definitely a priority for us. This project provides a great opportunity for us to look broadly and implement the best measures, including fencing, underpasses, and/or overpasses, to help facilitate wildlife movements,” Hammond added.
This past fall, WYDOT leadership approached Teton County staff to discuss folding the County-led Tribal Trail project into the WYO 22 project. The County Commissioners held a workshop in December to discuss various scenarios for this merger and, on December 19th, sent a formal request to WYDOT to begin developing a cooperative agreement detailing this merger. On March 21st, the Commissioners voted to approve the agreement.
“Combining the two projects helps respond to comments from some members of the public that theTribal Trail project should be analyzed along with the WYO 22 project,” Hammond said.
Over the next year, WYDOT will conduct various technical studies and public outreach—all geared toward honing in on the problems and solutions. This work will be used to support the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process that WYDOT hopes to initiate in 2024. Timing for construction remains uncertain, as WYDOT does not currently have construction funds programmed in its 6-year State Transportation Improvement Plan. Hammond noted with NEPA work going into 2025, any future project would not be planned for construction until 2028 at the earliest.
Project information is available on the project website.