Stateline Road adoption on agenda

October 1, 2018

Teton County commissioners will consider Tuesday the adoption of a section of Stateline Road in Alta.

Adopting the stretch of road is the first step in the long-awaited rebuilding of a bridge over South Leigh Creek. Since the bridge broke, the road has fallen into a state of disrepair as well, county engineer Sean O’Malley said.

This year’s county road budget includes $1.5 million for replacing the bridge that washed out years ago, rendering it impassable, according to Teton County Engineering Manager Amy Ramage. A revamped road and bridge would better connect the North Alta area to Alta and Driggs, Idaho, as well as Grand Targhee Resort. Emergency access will also be improved.

Stateline Road runs along the Wyoming-Idaho border in Alta. The sections proposed for county adoption run from its intersection with 6000 North to a point slightly south of the 5000 North intersection, a county press release said. Adopting a road means the county is responsible for maintaining and reconstructing it as needed, and that the road is under the jurisdiction of the county sheriffs.

Deputy County Attorney Erin Weisman said her office has long worked to shore up easements along Stateline Road in preparation for the project.

According to the county, engineers are working on the road and bridge’s final design and permitting. If the road is adopted Tuesday, the county plans to solicit bids for the project over the winter with construction tentatively planned for 2019.

Both Idaho and Wyoming residents on the western side of the Tetons weighed in on the potential road adoption during a public comment period. Supporters of the road project emphasized the need for emergency access.

“I am aware of a few families who have lost family members due to the fact that Stateline Road wasn’t in operable condition,” Alta resident Brook Nelson wrote. “If there were ever to be a fire, the fire department would be able to reach our community at least 10-15 minutes sooner if the road were repaired.”

Others, especially Tetonia and Driggs residents, worried that a revamped road could disturb migration corridors and habitat and attract unwanted traffic.

“The road as it exists provides many hours of peaceful, traffic free enjoyment and recreational opportunities to both Wyoming and Idaho community members,” a letter from Friends of Stateline Road said. “It should remain as a prime recreational corridor for walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.”

Critics also requested that should the road be improved, it should be a single lane with a restricted speed limit and include a nonmotorized pathway.

O’Malley said steps would be taken to discourage use of the road for through trips, including minimizing its width, adding curvature and restricting bridges to one lane.

Commissioners will consider the road adoption at 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ chambers at 200 S. Willow St.

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