This section of US Highway 89 in southwest Wyoming links Alpine Junction with Hoback Junction through the Snake River canyon. The Wyoming Highway Department contracted an EIS to study the impacts of widening the existing route. The major visual resource issues were the river rafters' view from the Snake River, and the need to stabilize one section which tended to slump on a regular basis.
Elevated structures, proposed to address the slumping problem, required a design treatment that would be visually acceptable to the river rafters. It was determined early on that a standard exposed steel frame structure would likely be visually undesirable, so Ellsworth and Associates, landscape architects, inc. was asked to visually simulate structures which would minimize the visual impact. Drawing upon their experience with highway structures on Interstate 70 over Vail Pass and in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, EALA's landscape architects' visual simulations showed structures that were more compatible with the surrounding landscape in terms of form, line, color, and texture.
EALA's work added value to the Snake River Canyon Highway project in the following ways...
- Saved time and money for the state highway department, design engineers, and consultants by accurate and realistic illustration of proposed alignments
- Increased public awareness and acceptance of the project by realistically showing the project from the driver's viewpoint and from the recreationists' viewpoint
- Effectively showed how the proposed design would resolve the major environmental issue of land slumping while protecting the sensitive canyon and riparian environment
- Made it easier for people with limited technical knowledge to understand the complex geotechnical engineering methods involved
- Made the work of other environmental consultants easier and more credible by effectively illustrating the complex roadway design for them