wyoming department of transportation

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

The oil and gas boom in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas has not only brought jobs and prosperity but also a dangerous spike in traffic and accidents. These states have reacted with a variety of fixes, but not one has been able to prepare in advance for the traffic boom. That is partly because a large slice of transportation funding in most states comes from the oil and gas industry itself. Jim Willox is a local official in Wyoming’s Converse County, where much of the oil and gas boom is taking place:

Wyoming Pathways

Wyoming’s ranking as a bike friendly state continues to drop. The state ranks 36th after ranking 33rd last year and 11th in 2010.  The loss of stature has concerned that Director of Wyoming Pathways…Tim Young.  He’s been speaking with the Wyoming Department of Transportation about the issue.  He joins us to discuss the report.

David Koch

All but one of Wyoming’s mountain pass highways will be open for Memorial Day weekend.  The Wyoming Department of Transportation shuts down several of the state’s passes because of deep snow during winter months.  Maintenance engineer Tim McGary says it wasn't clear they would be able to get Snowy Range Pass between Centennial and Saratoga open in time.

The Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation is hopeful that a bipartisan attempt in the US Senate to pass a transportation bill will be successful.

Congress has not been able to agree on similar legislation in recent years, but Thursday a Senate committee approved a measure that ensures Wyoming’s share of the distribution will pay for repairs to hundreds of miles of highways across the state.  Without a highway bill, Wyoming Department of Transportation Director John Cox says things get put off.

Conservationists are relieved that migrating animals are using the recently-built overpasses on U-S Highway 191 near Pinedale. The highway cuts across major wildlife migration routes, and vehicle collisions with animals have been a problem in the area for years.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation finished six underpasses and two overpasses for the wildlife last year, inspired by similar structures in Banff National Park. They were the first ever built for pronghorn antelope, which can't jump roadside fences, and they avoid enclosed spaces. 

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is trying to determine whether reflectors posted at the side of roads help reduce wildlife collisions.

WYDOT’s Cody Beers says the reflectors are meant to bounce light along the roadside when cars pass, so the animals know not to cross the roads.

“Over the last 20 years there’s been roughly seventy-five thousand documented wildlife-vehicle collisions in the state of Wyoming,” Beers said. “So it’s our hope that we can save lives and save animals’ lives.”