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Burma Road project being considered for award

Jan 10, 2013 - From staff reports

Fremont County's Burma Road Reconstruction project was completed in March 2012 and is being considered for the Wyoming Engineering Society's Project of the Year award.

The project sought to improve the alignment of one of the county's most dangerous roads by eliminating steep hills and sharp curves. To accomplish this much-needed project, Fremont County saved funds for several years to reconstruct the middle five miles of the roadway, considered by most to be the most dangerous section. The county also sought and received funding from the State Land and Investment Board Impacted Counties fund and the WyDOT Industrial Road Program.

To determine the best route for the road, a feasibility study was conducted. Once this study was complete, Fremont County hired the consulting engineering firm of James Gores and Associates of Riverton to complete the design. They, along with several other Wyoming firms, completed the design and bid the project in February 2010 to allow for an early start to construction.

High Country Construction of Lander submitted the low bid and was awarded the project for construction. The original project bid was $4.47 million. The project was constructed for under the bid amount, a total cost of $4.42 million.

The focus of the design was to eliminate the steep hills on both the south and north sections of the route -- particularly the steep, sharp S-curves that were especially hazardous in the winter on the southern section -- and to combine two very sharp horizontal curves on the northern section into one gradual curve. These improvements required nearly 50 percent realignment of the roadway, shortening it by 0.4 miles. Roadway safety was further enhanced by the addition of widened shoulders, expanded clear zones, increased sight distances, and turnouts for snow plows, buses and mailboxes.

Fremont County, James Gores and Associates, and High Country Construction were able to coordinate construction that resulted in only minor disruptions to traffic flow. There were only a few instances in which the road was totally closed. For the most part, there was always one lane of traffic with delays of fewer than seven minutes.

The traditional striped lane width was narrowed from 12 feet to 11 feet in an attempt to calm traffic by trying to keep traveler speeds down to the posted 55 miles per hour, a concern expressed by many residents along the route. The snow plow turnouts, school bus turn-arounds, and mailbox turnouts were improved by providing adequate room for the plows, school buses and residents to pull completely off of the travel way.

The paved roadway surface is now 28 feet wide, allowing agricultural interests and the oil and gas industry to use the road in a safe manner. Fencing was added to alleviate livestock on the roadway. Residents of the area now have upgraded phone service lines because they were located in the project corridor.

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