Shaky federal funding is behind the Wyoming Department of Transportation's decision to redirect dollars toward preserving good roads and away from new construction. The change in focus is at the heart of the State Transportation Improvement Program or STIP announced last week. The program looks forward to projects slated for the next seven years. But Wydot spokesman, Jeff Goetz, says plans for widening of 220 west of Casper and the eventual construction of a west side Casper by-pass remain on the table.

 

"The west beltloop that's a project that's been in the works for several years. It takes that long to get a project going.  There's some pending litigation involved with that project, but that project has been moved to be let out for contract-the first phase of it- in 2012."

And, he says, the six mile extension of four lanes on Highway 220 west of Casper will likely begin with earth moving this fall.

Meantime, Goetz acknowledges some public criticism of the "maintenance only" idea.

"The fact of it is, is that if you maintain something while it's in good condition it's inevitably cheaper in the long run."

He uses the Hat Six Road area as examples of how Wydot might re-prioritize in the face of funding uncertainty.

"Take for example Hat Six.  I-25 through Hat Six is brand new and so were gonna want to, in a few years, start really investing in it to keep it in good shape. A bad road that's getting worse is probably Hat Six Road. Its not a high priority road, because it just doesn't get very much use. So we'll start shifting those dollars to where we think we can best use them and keep the good roads good."

Another project coming up in 2013 will reconstruct Casper's Poplar street and CY intersection.