Economic Benefits of Transportation,  Local Economic Revitalization,  Wyoming

Harney Street Viaduct and Snowy Range Road

A gem in big sky country and home to the University of Wyoming, Laramie is rich in education, history, and cultural heritage. A train corridor built in 1929 divides the town east and west. The west side plays an important role in Laramie’s cultural heritage while the east is home to the university, the hospital, and many local businesses.  A viaduct, built in the sixties, connected these two areas; however, an increasing population and labor force, influenced by the university and local hospital, showed the old viaduct’s age and level of disrepair. The existing transportation thoroughfare did not allow for direct connections and was frequently congested while the existing viaduct was deteriorating and no longer met current standards.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation’s (WYDOT’s) relocation and construction of the new Harney Street viaduct and the connected Snowy Range Road created continuous corridor traffic movements and a centrally located thoroughfare for cross-town access.  A bicycle and pedestrian path was added to accommodate active transportation modes more safely. This corridor now provides a direct connection to the local hospital, the university, and the downtown while reducing traffic volume.

The new overpass also improves access to Snowy Range Road, making trips to the nearby Medicine Bow National Forest—with its hiking and biking trails, camping spots, and skiing—easier and quicker.

The project’s completion led to the development of a portable museum exhibit, railroad walking tour, and funding for oral histories of railroad workers, thus preserving the history in west Laramie. The new viaduct and Snowy Range Road also improved the mobility needed for population growth and accessibility to education, health care, and local businesses. In a town where industry revolves around a single node, having a reliable transportation system to capture the value of economic activity and areas of historical significance is essential.

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