Casper's West Belt Loop Connector Should be Completed in 2016

By  | 

"The west side tends to feel a little bit neglected with development so this will be a benefit to spur more development,” said Casper City Councilwoman Kenyne Schlager.

Developers have already told city officials they are interested in putting in commercial buildings as soon as the west belt loop is finished.

"We're looking at an early to mid 2016 opening,” said Jeff Goetz, the public relations specialist for WYDOT.

Grading for the road which will connect CY to 20-26 is done and will sit mostly quiet this year.

"It won't be until October of this year when we go out to bid on the paving of the highway," said Goetz.

Some business owners and residents in the area where truck traffic will be detoured say they aren't worried about it, but others said off camera they are unsure of the impact.

"There will be major nodes of commercial development at each of the interchanges. There is a lot of debate about how many interchanges there will be,” said Casper City Manager John Patterson.

One thing not debated is whether truck traffic will decrease on CY as the main goal of the project is diverting large trucks and through-traffic to keep them away from downtown Casper.

"That truck traffic that goes through Mills, Wyoming boulevard, CY that area it should take a lot of that out, a lot of that pass through trucking that doesn't stop here anyhow,” said Patterson.

All the city officials I spoke with agree saying those taking the connector weren't going to stop here and spend money anyways.

"As the city expands we are all experiencing the increased traffic and the increased frustrations and it's just one more avenue to spread traffic out a little bit, I can't see any negatives to it at this point," said Schlager.

Paving on the west belt loop is planned for early 2015.

Reported by Cody O’Hara