Jun 18, 2015

Chip sealing set for next week on Wapiti highway project; project east of Wapiti to begin

Crews are expected to put a finishing chip seal on several miles of newly widened highway between Wapiti and the Shoshone National Forest next week, while also starting work on another section of the highway to the east, between Wapiti and the post office.

Chip sealing is scheduled to start Tuesday, June 23, on the $8.77 million section of improvements being made to U.S. Highway 14-16-20 west of Wapiti. Weather permitting, prime contractor Riverside Contracting, Inc., will start after 10 a.m. on Tuesday and finish by Thursday, June 25, said Wyoming Department of Transportation resident engineer Todd Frost in Cody.

Crews were paving the highway earlier this month, but now they're moving on to chip sealing. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
"Motorists should expect 15-minute delays with traffic control by pilot vehicles," Frost said in a news release. "There will be night flagging and the pilot car to keep speeds reduced."

The project covers 4.26 miles of the highway, running from the Wapiti bridge (milepost 31.98) over the North Fork of the Shoshone River to just east of the Shoshone National Forest boundary (milepost 27.72).

"This piece of highway has been widened from the old 12-foot lanes and six-foot shoulders to 12-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders, and shoulders were flattened to improve safety," Frost explained. "Existing pipes and box culverts were in poor condition and have been replaced, and drainage has been improved."

Meanwhile, as that work wraps up, Riverside Contracting is beginning another $3.45 million in highway improvements directly east of Wapiti (the Wapiti East project).

The new project starts at the North Fork of the Shoshone River bridge at Wapiti and goes to just east of the Trout Creek bridge (near the Wapiti post office) on U.S. 14-16-20. Frost said the contractor is tentatively scheduled to begin dirt and pipe work on Monday, June 22.

Other than several pipe crossings across the highway, the highway surface will remain as asphalt through the duration of the project.

As they did with the western phase of the project, crews will use pilot cars and flaggers to control traffic. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
"Paving is tentatively scheduled to start the end of July. All work except the chip seal is tentatively scheduled to be completed about Aug. 31," Frost said. "If the chip seal is not done this year, it will be done next June."

Frost said the project also includes deck repair and an epoxy deck overlay to the North Fork bridge, and the Trout Creek bridge will have approach slab replacement and a silica fume deck overlay. Bridge rehabilitation depends upon favorable temperatures, so it is important it is completed during the summer, Frost said.

WYDOT's contract with Riverside calls for maximum traffic delays of 15 minutes and work will stop July 1-5.

Flaggers and a pilot car will be used to control most of the traffic, with traffic signals controlling vehicles as they cross the bridges, which will be reduced to one lane during the project.

The Wapiti East project consists of a one-inch asphalt pavement leveling, a two-inch pavement overlay and a chip seal, with some minor slope flattening and some pipe replacement and bridge rehabilitation. It covers 4.45 miles of U.S. 14-16-20, from milepost 31.98 to milepost 36.43, between Yellowstone National Park and Cody. The contract calls for the work to be completed by Sept. 30, 2016.

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