Casper Council Defers on Talk of 1-Way to 2-Way Conversion
At the Casper City Council meeting on Tuesday, the council heard about the results of a study on the benefits of converting Wolcott and Durbin from one-way streets to two-way streets.
The study, which was completed on Oct. 2021, showed that it would cost a total of $750,000 to convert all seven blocks of the two streets to two-way, which includes additional street lights, stripping of new street lines, and adding ADA compliant ramps.
City manager Carter Napier said he thinks the project should be completed, that it would give more drivability and business to the businesses along the two streets, and that he would only want to put it off one year and not two or three.
Councilmember Bruce Knell said that he is supportive of the city using the funds it has now, rather than kicking the can down the road, as the cost to do the conversion will only increase with time.
Mayor Ray Pacheco said that he is supportive of doing the conversion now because the longer it gets put off, the more expensive the project will be.
"I'm not saying this is right now, but I think for sure in a year we should look at this as something that needs to be done because this needs to be done," Pacheco said. "We do have a priority and we're going to talk about the capital budget soon, but the other side that gets me sideways is that in a year or two, we're gonna see the inflated cost of it go up again. I do agree with Bruce that four or five years ago we would have been paying $400,000, so we're gonna be back at this spot in two or three years, and it's going to be a million and a half, and then we're gonna sit and say it's too expensive. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet to do that kind of stuff."
Councilmembers Steve Cathey, Lisa Engebretsen, and Kyle Gamroth all said they have reservations about the conversion and would prefer not to spend that much money at this time.
The council ended up asking Napier to look into whether there are any grants available for the city to use to fund the conversion, rather than dipping into extra funds.