Staff Reporter 

County to fund model of Cottonwood Creek Bridge for museum


April 27, 2023

Washakie County is accepting bids for Cottonwood Creek Bridge in Winchester. As $6,500 was previously allotted for the bridge’s transportation, the county will support up to that amount for the removal of the bridge from its current location to its new owner’s property. Bids will be accepted up until 5 p.m. on May 1.

At the Washakie County Commissioners’ Tuesday, April 18 meeting, Chairman Aaron Anderson noted that a 3D printed model of the bridge was part of the agreement with Wyoming Department of Transportation and Washakie County Museum and Cultural Center to maintain a record of the historic structure, which will be put on display at the museum. Estimated costs for the model’s rendering and construction are $5,000, which would be taken on entirely by the county.

“Anything we’ll make off the bridge will be spent on the model,” Anderson remarked, with concurrence from the commission that the price seemed high. The Commissioners will look to complete the stipulations of their memorandum of agreement with the other two authorities before WYDOT requires the bridge be moved on May 26.


Road and Bridge Supervisor Stuart Bower reported on the “rock fall saga” at Mahogany Butte. A rock on the butte has become a public safety concern due to its precarious position and is set to be removed as soon as possible. Sky Aviation and Midwest Rockfall’s services have been explored for the project. Ty Ragland of Sky Aviation estimated a 1.5-hour flight and a half hour of work would be required to remove the rock, costing around $3,000. Workers will walk in from a location slightly south of the rock to remove it. Materials from the removal will be relocated to Orchards Pit.

Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and Worland Police Department announced on April 19 that access to the Mahogany Butte area of County Road 82 will be cut off starting April 24.


Bower also presented several right-of-way plans on county roads for upcoming infrastructure installation projects. Range proposed fiber optics installation to serve homes north of Worland, requiring right-of-way access on Washakie 10 and West River Road starting tentatively in July. Next year, the project would continue south of Worland. The Commissioners agreed to the proposal, putting it on the consent agenda.

Wyoming Gas requested right-of-way on Road 13 for a project to service David Ray’s property. A change in the company’s plan for running the line required a second right-of-way application, so the Commissioners agreed to refund Ray’s initial application fee.

A right-of-way permit for a Big Horn REA power update by Big Trails will be discussed at the next meeting on May 2.

The weight limits and integrity of two bridges on County Road 580 were discussed regarding upcoming work by Contango in the area. The Commissioners suggested pipes could be used to replace the bridges in the future.


Thad Bennett with the Forest Service brought many topics to the commission, including Deer Haven Lodge in the Bighorn Mountains. Sold to new owners on March 31, the building will undergo construction and be back in operation at the end of next year. Repairs to a Forest Service cabin near Tyrell Work Center will be completed within the next three years for rental to the public. Additional employees have been hired at Ten Sleep Climbing Ranch with hopes of improving operations. At East Ten Sleep Creek, a fish barrier to screen for invasive fish is in progress.

Commissioner Terry Wolf opened discussion on dispersed camping in Washakie County. Anderson added that a sticker program or similar fee could help fund restroom facilities on public lands to support an increased number of campers. Bennett said programs have been considered, but little progress has been made.

The Commissioners approved the appointment of Dick Pedersen and Jeff Stocklin as wildlife representatives to the Predatory Board.


Sheriff Austin Brookwell asked the commission for guidance in the purchase and installation of security cameras and a DVR at the Washakie County Law Enforcement Center. Sixteen cameras and ethernet will be utilized, and Brookwell estimated $9,900 for the project. With only $1,900 available in this year’s budget for the purchase, the Commissioners agreed the remainder should be taken from the unanticipated expenses budget. Anderson requested additional installation quotes before finalizing the purchase.

Clerk of Court Christy Schneider informed the Commissioners that due to software upgrades, financial documents must be hand-filed to be migrated to the new system. She requested that a part-time clerk employee be hired full-time to help with the increased workload. “Even after all of the software and stuff, we’re going to continually need to scan all of those old files and send them to archives,” Schneider said, suggesting that the position remain full-time long term.

The deputy clerk’s salary could be covered with the current budget May through June, before the new budget session. The Commissioners approved of the full-time transition contingent on the funds being pulled from the current District Court budget. A budget amendment will be required if further funds are needed, and the position will have to be accounted for in next year’s budget.

The updated software also requires TWAIN drivers to communicate between computers and scanners, which the current equipment does not have. Three new scanners for $400 apiece were approved for purchase to mitigate this problem.

Bower provided several quotes on motor graders and recommended the purchase of a 1,300-hour John Deere for $214,000. The Commissioners approved of the purchase, which will be funded through Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency funds, pending Bower’s approval of the machinery.

County Assessor Nancy Quinn requested a new printer due to complaints from residents receiving illegible notices from her office. A $1,150 replacement, with $90 per quarter maintenance and supply expenses, was approved.

A $1,250 overhead sign for Washakie County Fairgrounds, bid by Mad Fab, was approved for purchase to be installed before this year’s fair.

Building Maintenance Manager Ryan Casad noted that a recently repaired truck is now leaking about a quart of oil a week. A $1,400 rear main seal repair was quoted. “You’ve already got part of it fixed, you’re kind of committed to fix the rest of it,” Wolf reasoned. The repair was approved. As the weather warms, the Chief Washakie totem at Pioneer Square Park is set to be re-stained by county maintenance to protect the exposed wood.


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