After winning a $20 million federal grant, WYDOT (the Wyoming Department of Transportation) plans to make improvements to a 45-mile stretch of an interstate known for intense winds and severe winter weather in an attempt to improve driver safety.
The improvements will be focused on I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins as part of the “I-80 Winter Freight Improvement Project” and is set to begin in the spring of 2021.
One of the main focuses of the project is to add more parking options to give drivers a safe place to pull over during severe weather. Specifically, WYDOT plans to create two parking areas at Walcott Junction and Quealy Dome—each to accommodate around 100 trucks.
Additionally, WYDOT will add truck passing lanes two miles eastbound over Halleck Ridge and 3.53 miles westbound between Cooper Cove and Quealy Dome Road in hopes to minimize the number of secondary crashes that often take place when the interstate reopens after a crash.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation Director, Bill Panos, says of the project, “The proposed project will benefit the regional transportation system by promoting more effective truck traffic movement. The project constructs additional lanes in areas where trucks slow down because of steeper grades, allowing cars and trucks to pass and reducing driver fatigue.”