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SHERIDAN — Area residents got a big picture look at the proposed redesign of the North Sheridan Interchange at a public meeting Thursday at the Best Western Sheridan Center.
It was the third public input session held by the city and the North Main Association and overall reaction was positive, said John Heyneman, contractor and project manager for the North Main Association.
“They’re seeing what they said they’d like to see,” Heyneman said. “The point of this evening is to give everyone a chance to comment, to look and see what’s been done so far. There’s been a tremendous amount of public input that’s taken place to get as far as we are, and we’re excited to show folks their ideas that have been incorporated in the current draft.”
Maps — up to 6 feet long, showing satellite photos of North Main Street with proposed placements of trees, benches, art pods, turning lanes and street lighting — were spread out on tables around the room, displaying design drafts for all four phases of the project.
The four phases are for discussion purposes only and don’t necessarily represent project scheduling, said Joe Schoen, city project manager.
“The project will be awarded all at once as one monster project with all these phases. The contractor will come up with a plan to determine where he starts and where he ends, and the city will approve that plan,” Schoen said.
Phase one covers Fort Street, which is where the current redesign work on North Main Street stopped, north to the bridge over Goose Creek. Past public input lead to a proposed continuous turn lane and no on-street parking, Heyneman said. Proposed plans include four traffic lanes, a continuous turn lane, ADA-compliant sidewalks and trees, benches and public art displays.
Phase two starts at the bridge over Goose Creek and ends at the new interchange.
“That’s going to be a pretty dramatic redesign because Decker Road will be cut off and the interchange is about 3/4 of a mile away from where the current interchange is,” Heyneman said.
It is proposed to include a raised, landscaped median and turn lanes at major intersections. There will be four traffic lanes, wide sidewalks and a tree-lined boulevard similar to the entrance of the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Phase three is the new interchange. The meeting did not include a proposed design for the interchange, but there were pictures and examples of possible designs taken from Cheyenne and Fort Collins, Colo. These included ornamental railings on the interchange overpass to make it look nice and be safe for people to walk on, Heyneman said.
Phase four is the proposed Gateway Park.
“This one’s the fun one. People really are excited when they see the potential,” Heyneman said.
When the current interchange is removed, the land will likely become the property of the city of Sheridan, Heyneman said. Wyoming Department of Transportation will level the land and re-seed it to be a grassy, open space.
Potential amenities include a visitor center, a restaurant overlooking Goose Creek, picnic areas, a dog park, a splash park, creek access, a disc golf course and walking paths that will connect with existing and new walking paths.
Two more public meetings are planned for early to mid-summer, Schoen said. The city and WYDOT will hold a meeting about enhancements and WYDOT will hold a meeting to publicly disclose final proposals for the project, which will include all the input gathered by the North Main Association and the city of Sheridan.
The overall North Sheridan Interchange project is estimated to cost at least $35 to $40 million, Schoen said. The design process will take approximately three years, with construction set to begin in 2016 and last two years.
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