WyoFile: Tribes welcome safer road on Wind River Reservation

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe welcome a new and safer road on the reservation:
Decades after the tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation first dreamed of straightening and repaving one of the most dangerous roads in Wyoming, officials from the state, federal, county and tribal governments celebrated the grand opening of 17 Mile Road last week.

The road, which is part of the most direct route between Ethete and Riverton, is dotted with small crosses to mark many lives lost, especially on a once treacherous series of curves some six miles east of Blue Sky Highway.

“This was one of the most dangerous places in the county, if not the state,” said Fremont County Sherriff Skip Hornecker, who lives on the reservation. Hornecker gestures at the old road, once gravel, now paved, that snakes behind the metal building housing the Northern Arapaho tribe’s commodities program.

“At one point, you drove on those big S curves,” Hornecker said. The road, which old timers say is about 80 years old, has been straightened at least once and was first paved in 1957. Now its freshly blacktopped surface is gently banked through the curves at angles designed to hold vehicles on the road.

“It’s going to be a major safety improvement for everyone who travels on this road,” said Mike Hejtmanek, superintendent of the St. Stephens schools. “We, meaning the school districts on the reservation, we transport 1,000 students to school and back on buses every day. This will help keep them safe.”

Get the Story:
New 17 Mile Road promises safer driving on Wind River Indian Reservation (WyoFile 10/27)

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