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EDITORIAL: Road work ahead

There’s an old joke about the four seasons in Wyoming: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.

We’re quickly approaching road construction season.

Next week, crews will begin work on Coulter Avenue, removing medians and installing new lighting. During the construction project, drivers will need to adjust to single-lane traffic in each direction, which could remain 24 hours a day, seven days a week, depending on the work being done.

Aside from a couple breaks in July, work will continue through August.

Since Coulter Avenue is the only four-lane road in town — and runs smack-dab through the center of Powell — the road work through the summertime will certainly impact our community.

But in the end, we believe the improved road will be worth any short-term headaches.

In addition to new lighting, an asphalt overlay, sidewalk improvements and removal of the medians, the intersection of First and Evarts streets near McDonald’s will be reconstructed. That particular improvement is a long time coming.

As crews work on Coulter, we encourage residents to be patient and mindful of the work zones. Taking it slow and obeying the law in work zones can help prevent accidents.

Unfortunately, Coulter Avenue has seen several serious crashes recently. In just the past week alone, two separate crashes occurred at the intersection of Coulter and Division Street. Both times, drivers failed to yield to oncoming traffic.

Last year, an elderly couple died after an August wreck on Coulter Avenue that was one of the worst in-town crashes in Powell’s history.

The crashes are a sobering reminder of how dangerous the four-lane highway can be, even when speed limits are lower through town.

With crews working on the road in coming months, it’s especially important to pay attention.

When the Coulter project wraps up this fall, we’ll all be ready — but there will soon be another major project to prepare for in Powell. Construction on the Absaroka Street widening project is slated for 2019. Some work — such as removing trees along Absaroka Street — is expected to begin next year.

We just started paying pennies toward that $4.25 million project on Saturday, when the voter-approved 1 cent sales tax took effect.

Next year, the city will host public meetings on the project, where residents and businesses can share their input.

Similar to Coulter Avenue (aka U.S. Highway 14-A), Absaroka Street is also a highway. That means the roads see heavier traffic than other town streets.

Both Coulter and Absaroka are vital to our community, our history and our growth. As the Coulter improvements take shape and leaders plan for the Absaroka Street widening, we hope both projects lead toward progress for Powell.

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