$7 million road

Photo by Alastair Baker

The West Fork Road will

receive a $7 million face lift.

Carbon County has secured a grant of $7,110,000 under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to improve West Fork Rock Creek Road. This is a Federal Lands Access Program project funded with Federal Transportation dollars. The County will match $355,630 of the total project cost. Resort tax will provide $165,630 towards this. The purpose of this project is to reduce the probability and severity of vehicle/vehicle and vehicle/bicycle-pedestrian crashes, lower maintenance costs and restore pavement structure from MP 0.0 to MP 2.81.The road will be widened to 30'. It is now 24' or less. There will be 11' driving lanes with 4' shoulders. The shoulders will provide a safer driving surface width and better accommodate pedestrian and bike traffic. "I am very excited about finally having this project funded," said John Prinkki, Carbon County Commissioner. "The match fund requirement for this project was estimated at over $900,000 dollars. Because other Forest Highway projects had cost less than originally budgeted for, Carbon County was able to have access to those funds as we had been originally funded under that program," said Prinkki. Prinkki added he "appreciated all the work and help we received from the Western Federal Lands Division of the FWHA on getting the Carbon County match requirement down to a level that Carbon County could manage. Our match will be funded through use of the Red Lodge Mountain Resort Tax, $205,630, and Carbon County road fund dollars of $150,000. The project will be funded over a four year period starting in 2014. There is now a reserve of about $120,000 in the Resort Tax fund that will be accessed for Right of Way Acquisition and placed in a Capital Improvement fund, as well as other maintenance projects." The construction phase will commence in 2015, and may be spread through the 2016 construction season. A public informational meeting will be held sometime in January.