For some Wyoming residents, Memorial Day weekend means enjoying the season’s first drive over a mountain pass that’s been closed all winter. Barring any major snow storms, Wyoming Department of Transportation says most seasonal closures over the state’s mountain passes should re-open in time for Memorial Day weekend.
District engineer Pat Persson manages snow removal on the Snowy Range between Laramie and Saratoga. He says it’s been an easier job this year than year’s past because the snow pack isn’t as deep. But he says, a snowstorm could still quickly move in and slow progress.
“We started at the beginning of this week and we’ve got crews working on both sides of the Snowy Range and we expect to have the road open by Memorial Weekend, pending future winter storms.”
Persson says Battle Pass between Saratoga and Baggs usually opens about two weeks after Memorial Day.
“With the lighter snowpack, we generally have Wyoming 70 open within two weeks of opening the Snowy Range Road,” he says. “This year, it looks like we might be able to get it open sooner.”
He says the only thing that could slow that progress is a large eight foot deep sink hole in the road that will require some maintenance.
Meanwhile, WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers says Burgess Junction is now open between Sheridan and Lovell, and so is Cooke Pass east of Yellowstone. Beartooth Pass on the Montana border received a lot of spring snow, but is also scheduled to be open by Memorial Day weekend.