The U.S. DOT has granted $8.2 million to improve a stretch of highway in Wyoming known for its preponderance of accidents, according to trib.com.
The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes will reconstruct an 8.3-mile segment of 17-Mile road with the federal grant. The total cost of the project is expected to be $13.2 million, according to a Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) official.
The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Business Council applied for the federal grant.
The corridor has seen more than its share of driving mishaps. WYDOT reported 20 crashes in the project area between January 2009 and October 2011. Of those, three people died and 13 were injured.
From 2000 to 2010, there were 56 accidents in the 8.3-mile stretch of highway, with five people killed and 42 injured, according to WYDOT.
The Fremont County portion of the roadway, known as 17-Mile Road, was considered for reconstruction in 1995, WYDOT's Lori Irving said in an email to trib.com. But since then the county has not performed crack sealing work, she wrote.
According to WYDOT, the existing roadway is a paved wagon trail lacking crucial safety features. Not only do accidents occur on the stretch of road, but traffic congestion inhibits emergency vehicle response time.
The 8.3-mile stretch is regularly used by tribal members and also for transporting goods, said John Smith, transportation director for the Shoshone and Arapaho Division of Transportation.
It is hoped that the grant will make the road safer and reduce the number of accidents that happen on several of the sharp curves, he said.
The planned improvements include 12-ft lanes with 8-ft paved shoulders and rumble strips.
Smith expected work to begin on the highway in May or June. He said the project should take about two years to complete.
Wyoming's grant is one of 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico to get money.