From its historic roots, Cheyenne has been a freight community going back to 1867 when the Transcontinental Union Pacific Railroad founded the frontier town as a major railyard. Cheyenne grew around the UPRR mainline and eventually around the BNSF Railroad, I-25 and I-80. At the crossroads of these major national freight corridors and economic growth as a result of these corridors, the MPO believed a freight plan would be beneficial in ensuring freight protection and movement while mitigating increasing freight impacts.
Cheyenne is divided by the UPRR with only six crossings. Additionally, over the last 8 years, the Swan Ranch Logistics hub has developed into a 7,000 acre commercial and industrial park with over 16 miles of track providing direct access to I-25 and I-80, only a mile away.
Freight movement plays a vital role in the local economy and the MPO believes a freight plan for the Cheyenne region is tremendously beneficial. The plan utilized unique public input techniques to collect data; reached out to freight providers in oil, coal and wind energy, coordinated with WYDOT’s ITS Division and their plans to change Port-Of-Entries and recognized the need for advanced warnings for winter road closures in addition to assistance to long-haul drivers who are stranded in the area until the interstates open.
Program analysis led to the development of the Plans of Safety, Infrastructure Condition, Congestion Reduction, System Reliability and Freight Movement and Economic Vitality. Short and long-term transportation improvement projects were identified and prioritized for future projects.
The plan was cooperated among city, county, state, ports-of-entry, freight shippers and receivers, motor carriers, Cheyenne LEADS, the Wyoming Trucking Association and the Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad in Colorado and Wyoming. This project demonstrates the importance of coordinating with the local economic development office as thousands of freight related jobs are in Cheyenne and many more thousands are possible given the availability of freight related land use and transportation access.