SHERIDAN — Since 2006, the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the city of Sheridan have been discussing the best options for replacing the Lewis Street bridge that crosses Big Goose Creek, as well as tie-in options for surrounding streets in an intersection that has been less than ideal for decades.
The two entities held an open house Monday night to discuss proposed plans with the community. The project will be let in January 2014 and is scheduled for completion in October 2015, WYDOT Public Involvement Specialist Ronda Holwell said.
The bridge, which is located below the junior high school near the library and Mill Park, was built in 1962 and needs to be replaced due to its age and deteriorated state in order to meet current design standards, WYDOT District Engineer Mark Gillett said. The city decided to join in the project in order to complete work on Alger Street at the same time.
The project will be funded 80/20 through the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program and city funds. The city will pay for all work — to include water, sewer, storm drain, street replacement and enhancements — on Alger Street.
Gillett said the new bridge will be built alongside the old bridge, to the northeast, in order to maintain traffic flow over the creek during the construction process.
The roads will be realigned to meet the new bridge and improve safety in the intersection.
The section of Dow Street that runs east from Jefferson Street and intersects Lewis and Alger streets will now make a 90-degree turn and “T” into Lewis Street, which will continue east toward Main Street.
Alger Street will no longer intersect with Lewis or Dow streets. It will be turned into a cul-de-sac just past the northwest corner of the library’s parking lot.
“Safety should be improved in that triangular intersection,” Gillett said.
Marion Street will “T” into Lewis Street further west of the current intersection.
The small section of Marion Street south of the current bridge will be turned into a parking lot. The old section of Lewis Street southwest of the new bridge will become a grassy area, nearly doubling the current Mill Park.
A new bike path will go under the new bridge and connect with the old bike path that ended behind Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat.
Gillett said a few people at the open house expressed concern about Alger Street becoming a cul de sac but otherwise people seemed satisfied with the plan.
City Project Manager Joe Schoen said turning Alger into a cul de sac was the result of several public involvement meetings in 2006, 2010 and 2011.
“Based on public input, the majority seemed to like the cul de sac better, so that’s the reason we chose the cul de sac on Alger,” Schoen said.
Schoen said access to the library during the construction process will likely be from Brooks Street into the big parking lot. The work on Alger Street will include replacement of water and sewer systems, as well as the street, from the county parking lot near Dow Street to the new concrete section on Alger that was added with Brooks Street work in 2009.
“It was one of those — I don’t want to say too much of a malfunction junction — but the intersection, how five intersections kind of came in, it was high hazard,” Schoen said.
WYDOT and the city of Sheridan expect to hold another public meeting in spring 2014 after the contractor has been chosen.