Gillette To Identify New Location For Gurley Overpass Replacement

Jan 30, 2020

Credit Jimmy Emerson / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and the city of Gillette are sharing the cost of a study that will examine a major overpass in town.

WYDOT will pay for 90 percent of the study, which totals up to $50,000 while Gillette will cover the remaining $4,755 and any amount that goes over the budget.

The study will look at the Gurley Street overpass, which was built in 1981 and is the only way to drive above the train tracks that cut through the north end of town.

City Communications Manager Geno Palazzari said the overpass has reached the end of its life and it's time to look at new options, including a new location.

"Is there another location to have an overpass that would be better for the community? Is the idea to build another overpass then tear down and fix the one at the current location as well and what are the best ways to go about doing that?" he said of what the study will consider.

Palazzari said the city has some ideas for new locations, such as north of of 4-J Road, near an at-grade crossing at Burma Road. He said the city is also considering another at-grade crossing on Butler Spaeth Road on the eastern side of town.

The study will also look at the environmental and social concerns, funding strategies and other points, said Gillette City Administrator Patrick Davidson at a recent city council meeting.

Palazzari said the city anticipates the cost will run between $12 to 15 million.

"Those are just general estimates. And even if it stays in the same location or if the overpass moves to a different location, there will probably be some land acquisition that needs to take place as well," he said.

Palazzari added the city is considering how to add in a pedestrian walk-way that is accessible for people with disabilities.

The city closes Gurley Street overpass for yearly inspections to manage upkeep. WYDOT is involved with the project because the department has oversight inspection of all bridges in the state, said Laura Dalles, public involvement specialist with WYDOT District 4. Though, the city is responsible for any construction.

Dalles added the funding for the study partially comes from a federal grant WYDOT received.

The city hopes to have a new overpass completed by the end of the decade.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.