Project includes Highway 33 widening, transit centers, and new pathways
On May 18 Teton County, Wyoming, representing multiple entities around the Teton region, submitted a federal grant application for over $28 million in funding for highway improvements, transit enhancements, and new pathway construction.
This year the US Department of Transportation has set aside $1 billion for BUILD Discretionary Grants to upgrade infrastructure across the country. DOT intends to direct at least 50 percent of those funds to rural areas such as the Teton region.
Teton County, Idaho, the City of Driggs, the Idaho Transportation Department, and the Southern Teton Area Transit Authority are some of the funding partners, who have committed a total of $7 million in local matches for the expansive proposal; if the grant is awarded, the federal government will fund around $21 million. Other entities that support the application include the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, City of Victor, Grand Targhee Resort, Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport, Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, Driggs Urban Renewal Agency, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development, and Teton Regional Economic Coalition.
All the project components are features of various long range planning documents, including the Greater Yellowstone Trail Concept Plan, Driggs Comprehensive Plan, and Teton View Regional Plan. The proposal is called the Teton Mobility Corridor Improvements, and its stated goal is to reduce vehicle miles traveled through an investment in public transit and active transportation, while promoting safety, efficiency, environmental sustainability, and improved quality of life, especially for commuters.
In addition to a raft of Wilson and Jackson infrastructure improvements, the grant has significant implications for infrastructure in Teton Valley. Driggs is proposing doubled capacity and more amenities at its downtown transit center, a park and ride for the Grand Targhee shuttle at 5th Street, and a 0.6-mile pathway extension to the airport on the east side of Highway 33. That project would complement the city's planned pathway on the west side of the highway to the Silver Star facility, made possible through a recent Local Highway Technical Assistance Committee grant. Driggs would be responsible for a $250,000 match spread over six years.
As part of the Greater Yellowstone Trail concept, Wyoming partners will construct a 3.5-mile pathway from Trail Creek Campground to Coal Creek, extending the soon-to-be-built path from Moose Creek to Trail Creek. Teton County, Idaho, has committed $2,000 for advisory multi-use lane striping on Old Jackson Highway, although the county commissioners are still mulling over different iterations of that idea. START will purchase four more commuter buses to increase its service to Teton Valley.
The largest Teton Valley project will be $4.4 million in upgrades to Highway 33, with a passing lane between Moose Creek and 9500 S and turning lanes at Baseline, 8000 S, 7000 S, 6000 S, 4500 S, 2000 S, and LeGrand Pierre Avenue. Those improvements are part of ITD's SH33 Corridor Plan, slated for 2024-25.
With such a robust list of public and private partners, design consultants with Alta Planning and Design, who helped guide the application, said they expect the Teton Corridor proposal to score well. Grants won't be awarded until September.