The county is currently analyzing five intersection alternatives for the connection with WY-22, along with the no-build option that the Alliance supports.
Why are we rushing to approve this road when the planning for the 22 corridor is about to start?
This approach is in direct conflict with language contained within Teton County’s Integrated Transportation Plan that “major capital investments in specific corridors will be made based on network analysis, not in isolation one corridor at a time.”
Instead, we believe that the goals of the Tribal Trail Connector Road project can be met during the upcoming re-design of WY-22 that will begin this summer. Additionally, Teton County should quantify both the costs and benefits of this connector road before proceeding, following their own guidance by making this decision in the context of the plan for the entire WY-22 corridor.
We urge you to go to the virtual open house that will be online until May 20. Learn more about the project and let county staff and our elected officials know how you feel.
The County plans to vote on these alternatives in July, so get informed and engage!
Our County Commission could vote on the proposed Tribal Trail Connector Road (TTCR) very soon. The proposed half-mile of new pavement would connect the end of the existing Tribal Trail Road to Highway 22, and some people think it has a place in solving our transportation challenges. It would require an additional intersection on 22 – the main east-west road connecting Jackson to Teton Village, Wilson, Idaho, and all points west. As we all experienced this summer, this highway experiences severe congestion during peak tourist season and drivers often face delays of over thirty minutes.
Addressing our community’s transportation problems is like solving a puzzle – we need to make sure we understand the big picture before placing any pieces.
If we build this road before figuring out the big picture, it could:
- Cause increased traffic and delay on Highway 22
- Use up resources we need for more effective solutions
- Be impossible to take back if we get it wrong
The County has an ongoing process to determine what kind of intersection to build; two of the alternatives include signalized intersections. Do we want another intersection like Spring Gulch backing up traffic and adding to the delay we all experience? The County’s traffic model (see pg. 6) shows the construction of TTCR would add over 1,000 vehicles per day to Highway 22, even assuming minimal use of the new road as a bypass for vehicles traveling to and from Rafter J, Melody Ranch, and anywhere south of town. Why would we take a first step to address our congestion problem that adds traffic and delay to 22?
The preliminary estimates for the construction cost of this road range anywhere from $5M to $14M, with those costs likely to increase as the County and WYDOT finalize the design and factor in rising costs of construction. The County will incur costs to complete the required environmental analyses and to negotiate with landowners outside of the existing right-of-way. We know that solving our transportation puzzle will take significant funding resources; shouldn’t we save our money until we know what the most effective solutions will be?
If we get this decision wrong, there’s no going back. We’ll have worsened traffic on Highway 22, spent millions of taxpayer dollars, impacted high-quality wetlands, and we won’t get a do-over. Doesn’t it make sense to proceed slowly, and get the big picture clear before we make any major capital improvements decisions?