Work begins this week on a new, permanent roadway realignment to circumvent a slide that destroyed a section of Wyoming Highway 70 between Baggs and Riverside in south-central Wyoming.
The damage was discovered by a snowmobiler on May 30, 2011, according to a Wyoming Department of Transportation press release. Six-hundred feet of roadway was destroyed just west of the overlook at mile post 30.
A temporary detour around the slide was completed in mid-July last year. It has served traffic through the area since then, except for the period last winter when the alpine roadway was closed for the season.
The new roadway realignment will be constructed several hundred feet up the hill above the slide, as recommended by WYDOT geologists, because of better ground stability.
Final dirt grade and placement of crushed base is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31.
Traffic may be shifted onto the new road at that time, depending on the weather. The new road will be paved and completed next year during construction season.
Until the new road realignment is ready for traffic, travelers will continue to be routed through the detour. It is a single-lane dirt road with a gravel surface that operates as one-way alternating traffic.
Restrictions through the detour section are 30,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and under. A 10-foot width maximum is being enforced and long loads are discouraged.
The one-mile section of new roadway will cost $2.8 million. The contractor is High Country Construction of Lander, and the work is federally funded.