highways

Wyoming Secretary of State's Office

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation will designate a 19 mile stretch of Highway 28 in Fremont County as the "Wyoming Women's Suffrage Pathway."

Corinna Riginos

Mountain West states like Wyoming and Montana are high risk for wildlife-vehicle collisions. These accidents result in expensive damages and sometimes even death for both wildlife and drivers. One group of scientists found an unlikely solution.

Highway 30 next to the Kemmerer Mine
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

In this past budget session, Wyoming’s state legislature funded a $30 million project that would benefit a coal mine that’s owner may soon go bankrupt. Westmoreland Coal Company is over a billion dollars in debt and has mentioned the possibility of bankruptcy in this past quarterly report. State legislators approved the sizable project, which would invest money relocating the highway U.S. 30 to accommodate a mine expansion.

The 100 Deadliest Days for car and truck crashes starts Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. It’s when fatalities spike the tally, leading to more than 1,400 deaths in the Mountain West.

Wikipedia Creative Commons, by Greg Younger

According to a new analysis from the website SafeWise, an online resource that provides information on safety for communities, Wyoming ranks as the most dangerous state for driving in snow.

The Wyoming State Historical Society has published a new book about the controversy and conspiracy that surrounds Interstate 80 and its dangerous past. The book is called Snow Chi Minh Trail: The History of Interstate 80 between Laramie and Walcott Junction.

The 77 mile stretch of interstate is considered especially notorious for its tragic history. The book’s title refers to the mountainous roadway used by North Vietnamese soldiers to reach South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming’s stretch of Interstate 80 is notorious for dicey weather conditions and heavy truck traffic. But it’s also a great place to study how to make driving safer, and that’s why it’s the testing site for a collaboration between the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the University of Wyoming.

 

287 Lander Southeast
WyDOT

Traffic got back to normal yesterday, according to Wyoming’s Department of Transportation. Officials reported historic levels of traffic Monday, the 21, following the solar eclipse or a 68 percent increase of overall traffic compared to the five-year average for the third Monday in August — much of that concentrated in central, western, and southern Wyoming.

Doug McGee, public affairs manager for WYDOT, said visitors started entering the state in larger numbers last Wednesday, picking up each day leading to the eclipse.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Heavy eclipse traffic in Wyoming caused slower travel than usual. Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Doug McGee said on Sunday alone traffic counts increased by more than 27 percent compared to the five-year average statewide. But certain areas saw exponential increases. For example, north of Laramie on U.S. 30-287 traffic increased by 214 percent on Sunday according to WYDOT.

Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming’s junior senator, John Barrasso, is now chairman of the committee tasked with crafting President Donald Trump’s call for a massive infrastructure proposal. Trump wants to rebuild roads, bridges, railways and airports across the country. 

Senator Barrasso is known as a penny pinching conservative, but when it comes to transportation he thinks Washington has been the one pinching Wyoming pennies.

Wyoming Game And Fish Department

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, collisions between wildlife and vehicles have been on the rise in recent months.

Doug Brimeyer is the Deputy Chief of Wildlife for the Game and Fish and he says after so many winter storms, the deep snow is limiting winter forage, and so animals are being forced to look for food at lower elevations. Brimeyer said it’s easier for animals to travel where the snow has been plowed back, but that big snow banks on either side of the road, especially in parts of western Wyoming, can trap them.

Mike Wood

A blizzard in the Beartooth Mountains outside Cody, trapped snow plow drivers and even the tow truck that came to pull them out. An amazing rescue saved one plow truck driver who spent all night in the cab of his plow. He survived deadly cold and wind.

In Cody on Monday morning, just as temperatures rose above freezing for the first time in four days, blinding blowing snow trapped a big backhoe in a drift, and it had to be pulled out with another rig.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

High winds around the state have forced state officials to close several roads to light, high profile vehicles. Some of the road closures include portions of I-25 between Cheyenne and Wheatland, and I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol say it has investigated at least 80 crashes around the state since Monday, many of those involving vehicles that have blown over.

WYDOT

Avalanches can be dangerous and shut down highways on many of the roads going in and out of the Jackson area, especially on Highway 191 through Hoback Canyon. But in the last few years, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has been installing new technology there that’s helped control the problem.

Avalanche technician Jamie Yount said in 2013, they installed the first remotely controlled avalanche exploders in North America. He said the new equipment now allows WYDOT to trigger avalanches on their own schedule and on a closed highway.

USFWS Mountain Prairie

A scientist says more than 6,000 deer are hit and killed on Wyoming roads each year, causing more than $50 million in injuries and damage to cars and wildlife. One scientist is studying the new nighttime speed limits to see if they really work.

jacdupree via Flickr

Vehicle collisions with bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are up this year. A total of eight grizzlies have been hit by cars in 2016, more than records from 2012 through 2015 combined.

Most recently, a 260 pound grizzly bear was killed on Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park.

The National Park Service received a call Sunday that a driver had seen the carcass on the side of the road. Park Rangers found the vehicle involved in the crash a mile up the road, and did not cite the driver.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

Several thousand gallons of crude oil are believed to have leaked from a tractor-trailer following a crash near Wright in northeast Wyoming Sunday morning. 

According to a press release, the commercial truck was hauling a semi-trailer and pup trailer full of crude oil when it ran off Wyoming State Highway 450 and into a ditch. Truck driver Nathan Gibson then tried to steer the truck back onto the highway, but was unsuccessful, and the truck rolled.

Credit Creative Commons

A recent study shows Wyoming parents can expect the fourth highest increase in auto insurance rates nationwide when they add a teen driver, but Wyoming drivers pay little for auto insurance overall.

The study by InsuranceQuotes.com, an online marketplace for purchasing car insurance, found that when a teen starts to drive, a Wyoming family’s auto insurance rate more than doubles, with an increase of 105.8 percent.

Insurance Information Institute spokesman Michael Barry said factors unique to Wyoming contribute to why it’s so expensive to insure teen drivers.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has released a new smartphone app to provide users with travel information and road conditions. Users of the app can plan their trip according to road conditions through WYDOT's map feature. The app, called 'Wyoming 511,' can read aloud updates about conditions via text message.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Winter weather this week caused I-80 to close across most of the state. The first major closure of the winter driving season was prompted by near zero visibility and blowing snow across much of interstate 80.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the most important safety tip for winter driving is wearing your seatbelt, something he says everyone should be doing no matter what the weather conditions are.

Wikipedia Commons

The familiar bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln that sits atop I-80’s highest point will be getting a makeover.

The statue will be taken down and transported to Eagle Bronze Foundry in Lander to be restored. It will be sandblasted with glass beads, highlighted, and resealed. Monte Paddleford, the owner at Eagle Bronze, says over time the elements take their toll on the statue’s luster. Once the statue is sandblasted, though, Paddleford says he thinks people will notice the difference.

Bob Beck

Highway crashes on Wyoming Interstates are a common occurrence, but the back to back multiple vehicle crashes last month even got the attention of locals. It led to the latest discussion about traffic safety and whether more could be done. But experts say that highway safety, especially when it comes to interstate 80 has been on the minds of state Transportation officials for some time. 

Miles Bryan

  

Nathan Brooks drives all over the country delivering goods as a long-haul trucker, and when I met him at a rest stop just outside of Laramie, Wyoming, he was about to start his favorite drive— back home to Alabama. Brooks has been a trucker for twenty-seven years and says the job is getting harder than it used to be.

“Everything is more expensive now. There is a lot more traffic on the road. And you are more likely to get caught up in some kind of accident.”

Wikimedia Commons

With federal highway funding once again facing uncertainty, Wyoming officials have already had to postpone transportation projects. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how Wyoming’s all Republican delegation is trying to do to shore up the program.

Dan Boyce

It’s no secret that America’s roads are in trouble.

Our highways, interstates and bridges are crumbling and there's an estimated $90 billion dollar annual shortfall in funding to make the fixes. So, now would be a good time to raise gas taxes, right? That’s the main funding source for road infrastructure, has been for decades. Wyoming, and Iowa have raised theirs in recent years, other states are considering it. But, as Dan Boyce with our Inside Energy team tells us, gas taxes are not a long-term solution.

saferoads.org

Wyoming ranks among the worst states for auto safety laws. That’s according to a new report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Eight other states were rated as red in the report, which means they have less than half of the organization’s recommended laws like mandatory seatbelt enforcement and required helmet use for all motorcyclists.

Bunky Loucks is a Representative from Casper and says he sees no need for state laws to change.

Robert Verzo via Flickr

Governor Matt Mead is proposing adding passing lanes to some of the state’s highways including Highway 59 between Douglas and Gillette. Mead’s budget proposal would use 21 million dollars in state funds for the upgrades.

Jim Willox is the Chairman of the Converse County Commissioners and says the proposed lanes would ease the surge in energy traffic on the 170 mile highway.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Association

Deaths on Wyoming highways have risen sharply this year. While there were 87 fatalities in 2013, there have been 136 in 2014. 61 percent of the people who died on Wyoming highways this year were not wearing seatbelts.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says that while seatbelts are mandatory in the state, seatbelt laws are only enforceable after a driver has been pulled over for another offense like speeding. He also says people still choose to break that law.

Penny Preston

Cody – Grizzly bears, moose, bison, and many other Yellowstone area animals are hit and killed by speeding motorists every year. But now, a baby moose that made newspaper and magazine headlines when it survived a raging river, has been photographed all alone. Locals fear it is orphaned and unlikely to survive, because a motorist killed its mother. It’s led to a renewed discussion over speed limits and signs in forested areas of northwest Wyoming.

A heavy snowpack swelled the Shoshone River this spring.

Doug Mahugh via Flickr

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

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