Here comes the job

Sep 20, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Weather permitting, the huge reconstruction project of North Federal Boulevard in Riverton is going to begin soon. The machines will be arriving any day now. Plans have been in the works for years, and the general contract for the job has been awarded. We'll be seeing lots of equipment with the name S&S Construction painted on the side. That's the Gillette company which won the bid.

The North Federal rebuild will be at once both "better" and "worse" than the similar job on South Federal Boulevard that was finished up a couple of years ago. Either way, it's going to be big.

On the better side, North Federal is more accessible from side streets than South Federal is, and that is seen as a benefit during construction. There will be more and varied opportunities to get where we're going because of the more numerous access points from east and west. South Federal doesn't have so many, which inevitably led to more cars having to simply bump through the construction zone.

But one reason North Federal has more access points is that there is more routine commerce being conducted there. More people find a reason to be on North Federal than South, particularly if their visits include turning off the street and getting back on. There are no two ways around it - that is going to be difficult for a good long while once construction begins.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and local leaders have been well aware of this, and plans will be in place to direct traffic to and from businesses and residential areas normally accessed by North Federal. No address will be in accessible. For many addresses, however, access will require a different route - plus a good dose of patience.

It's highly probable that the North Federal construction job will still be in progressthree years from now. That is a formidable looking span of time on the calendar, but it does not mean that the entire two-mile stretch will be in disarray for the entire time. These jobs are done in phases, and the public has been given every assurance that travel routes will be reopened the moment construction progress permits.

Through it all, as we learned first when Main Street was rebuilt 2004 and a few years later when the heavy machinery arrived at South Federal, these occasional rebuilds are necessary from time to time. The street that emerges from the noise and dust will be a much better one - up to date in terms of surfacing, curb and gutter, better drainage, underlying water, sewer, and other utilities, new and improved lighting, and other general improvements intended to last our community for decades to come.

So, with summer winding down but lots of good working weather still ahead, with the huge summer eclipse visitation having come and gone, and with the typical tourism season finishing up, it's time to rebuild North Federal Boulevard, the busiest traffic street in Fremont County.

We are all in this together, so one last piece of advice: Look at the big construction job with curiosity and interest, rather than impatience and irritability. It's going to be something to see.

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