Wind River Indian Reservation
On July 24-26, FHWA met with representatives of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Wind River Reservation is home to the Shoshone and Arapahoe tribes.
Coordination with WYDOT
At a meeting on July 25, the Wyoming DOT Chief Engineer and staff made a presentation on activities that have been underway on the reservation. Tribal transportation staff, WYDOT headquarter staff and WYDOT district and resident engineer attended the meeting. BIA’s regional engineer from Billings, MT as well as 4 tribes from Montana also attended the meeting.
Wyoming DOT and the tribes at Wind River have had a number of meetings to help foster communication and a working relationship. The state has worked to find out what the needs are. Del McOmie, WYDOT Chief Engineer said that this is a shift in how business is being done in Wyoming.
In 2001 WYDOT established a Tribal Liaison position. This position was established in part due to FHWA guidance that had been sent out to division offices. The Tribal Liaison also works on planning issues. Quarterly meetings were established between the state and tribe.
SH 132 Bridge
There are upcoming projects that the state and tribe are working together on. There is a bridge project on SH 132 that will be co-administered by the tribes and WYDOT. A Tribal/State MOU was executed in 2005 to jointly reconstruct the bridge.
The project was for a new bridge on new alignment downstream of the existing truss bridge. Due to a recent severe accident the bridge was damaged and WYDOT closed the bridge. The new structure will now be constructed on the existing roadway alignment. The state will construct a temporary bridge in a project to be completed by the end of August 2006.
The bridge project will be co-administered by the state and tribe. WYDOT says that this will be a new way to look at a project and there will be ownership at both sides. The state will do the design. The permitting and archaeological work will be a joint effort. The state and tribe will be involved in the construction.
17 Mile Road
There is a MOU between BIA, WYDOT, Fremont County and the Tribes for the 17 Mile Road Project. The project is the tribe’s top priority for transportation and WYDOT’s top priority for PLHD funds. The road way is a two-lane road with no shoulders and steep slopes in many locations.
On both of these projects the state will have a contract administration mentoring program for tribal interns.
WYDOT and the Tribes Joint Business Council agreed that TERO special provisions and employment preference requirements would be included in all roadway contracts on or near the reservation.
The tribes have received funding from the state under 23USC140(b) for construction training. The tribes have also received FHWA supportive services funds under 23USC140(c) for training. Training areas have included Construction Administration, Materials Testing, and Career Development.
Long Range Planning
WYDOT committed $50,000 for a study for the tribes’ long-range plan. This included a comprehensive IRR inventory.
Through the funding from FHWA and WYDOT the tribe operates and staffs a materials testing lab. The tribe has obtained surplus equipment from Federal Lands and DOI. The tribe has facilities for soils, asphalt and concrete testing and trailers for testing on projects. The tribe has a staff that is certified for the lab and field tests and provides the quality control for IRR projects on the reservation.
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