Work will likely begin this summer from West Cooper Lane to Corbett Bridge, said Beers at the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce Cody Club meeting Monday.
The final phase will be from milepost 2.20 to milepost 5.49 to the west side of Corbett Bridge, widening the section to five lanes at an estimated cost of $13 million. Bid letting is scheduled tentatively for May with construction provisionally planned for this summer and project completion next summer, Beers said.
The department is trying to soften the construction impact on commuters. There will be no traffic delays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on days during actual construction.
“That should help you get to work and help you get home,” Beers said.
There may be construction work on Saturdays, but none on Sundays and holidays, Beers added.
The rest of the time, delays are to be limited to 10 minutes at the most. Grading will not exceed two miles at a time so motorists aren’t driving on more than two miles of dirt and to limit the disruption in travel time, Beers said.
That phase also entails reconstruction to widen the bridge on Sage Creek to five lanes and highway realignment at the intersection of Beacon Hill Road.
A lane will be kept open over Sage Creek at all times to ensure traffic flow.
The stop sign on Beacon Hill will be easier to see, and so will visibility looking up and down the hill from the Beacon Hill Road intersection when the job is done, Beers said.
The flow of irrigation water won’t be disrupted by construction either, Beers said.
All of U.S. 14-A will be five lanes, with the exception of Corbett Bridge and the east side of the bridge up the hill to the intersection of County Road 2AB. From the bridge the number of lanes will remain the same until they connect with the existing five lanes, Beers said.
The new Corbett Bridge was completed in 2002. It is wide enough for four lanes with one foot of shoulder separating the guardrail on each side, Beers said.
A Powell-Cody Highway corridor study was completed in 1998. At the time, a five-lane highway was not recommended. Due to public complaints, the department decided to make 14-A a five-lane highway, but that decision was made after the bridge was finished, Beers said.
Physically widening the bridge would entail installing more pillars. There are no plans at this time to widen the bridge, he said.
The department will study existing traffic movement and consider directional striping leading to the bridge, but Corbett Bridge is not scheduled for widening at this time, Beers said.
That study will include finding solutions to traffic problems where Road 2AB intersects with 14-A at the top of the hill east of Corbett Bridge, he said.
Without the West Cooper Lane/Corbett Bridge portion of the highway project, the cost was $52 million for nearly 21 miles of highway.
If the department launched a project of this magnitude now, it would cost $100 million, making such a project cost prohibitive, he said.
“You’re not going to see us doing these corridor projects in the future,” Beers said.