Concerns expressed during road hearings
September 24, 2020
WORLAND – The Washakie County Commissioners held a public hearing regarding the adoption of Lane 17 1/2 and the vacation of Lane 18 1/2 at the Washakie County Fairgrounds, as part of their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
The meeting began with discussion around the vacation of Lane 18 1/2, which has been considered a county road for nearly 100 years. At the beginning of the meeting, the County Commission stated that there were no written objections submitted prior to the meeting, and began discussions with the concerned parties involved with the road.
The original purpose of the road being put in was to place it over a Marathon pipeline, the county has not maintained the road for an unspecified amount of time and had intentions to extinguish the county’s involvement, which includes easement and right-of-way access on the land, but want to ensure that the road is accessible to both parties involved.
Both landowners publicly displayed concerns about the road and why it should or should not be vacated. These concerns included keeping it a county road due to fears of the road being done away or access not being granted should it return to the owners, or wanting the county to vacate it due to fears of equipment continually being driven over property lines near a water line because of road narrowness.
More information was needed regarding the specifications of the road, including what part of the road would go to each landowner if it were to be vacated by the commissioners.
A decision was not made at the hearing. The commissioners may make a decision at the next County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The county then held a hearing regarding the adoption of Lane 17 1/2 with affected land owners and discussed what would need to happen in order for the road to become a county designated road.
The county had maintained a part of the road, but concerned land owners around the affected area filed a petition to make the road an official county road. The original petition that was filed called for the road to be changed and include a bridge that is located at the end of the road.
The road was petitioned to become a county road as well in 1919 but was never surveyed and never adopted as an official county road.
Much of the discussion at the public hearing centered around the specifications and enhancements that would need to be done in order for the road to be brought up to county standards before the adoption of the road.
The original concern from the commissioners regarding the bridge that was included in the original petition would be the cost that it would bring to the land owners and the commissioners. The cost for the bridge may cost in excess of $1 million to landowners then maintenance would create a large cost for the county.
Chairman Commissioner Fred Frandson said there is no scenario he could see where they adopt the road with a bridge.
Landowners felt at this time that it boiled down to a safety issue, and wanted to make it a county road so that maintenance may be done and that snow crews may help clear off the road to help concerned families in the winter.
More investigation would need to be done regarding grandfathered items that would be included, and what items would be a concern should the citizens decide to improve the road to county standards and therefore have the county adopt it once those standards are met.
The landowners formally asked to amend their petition to not include the bridge and to gain more information regarding the specifications for the road. It was formally asked to table the consideration of the petition until it can be amended and determine the additional information.
The decision on Lane 17 1/2 was officially tabled by the commissioners.