The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has shut down Teton Pass for eastbound trailer traffic early this year due to concerns over a runaway truck ramp.
WYDOT says that all eastbound trailer traffic is forbidden from Teton Pass starting October 15. Both directions will close to trailer traffic on November 15 and remain closed until April 1, 2020. The ban is for semi trucks and any other vehicle with a hitched trailer.
“Our concerns lie mostly with the eastbound traffic on the east side of the pass, given the steep grade, topography and accident history,” WYDOT District Engineer Keith Compton said.
WYDOT says that state troopers will be patrolling Teton Pass looking for violators of the seasonal trailer ban. Violators risk a $435 citation.
The eastbound closure is one month earlier than usual due to concerns over a runaway truck ramp that failed to fully stop a pickup truck hauling logs on September 10. The ramp has been closed since that incident.
On September 30, with the ramp closed, a truck loaded with potatoes crashed into a gravel shed on Teton Pass. The crash was so violent that it ripped the cab of the truck from the frame and sent it flying 100 feet into a tree. Thirty-one year old truck driver Jackson Altema was hospitalized with significant injuries following the crash. They Wyoming Highway Patrol later said that Altema’s truck was 17,000 pounds overweight at the time of the crash.
You can see video of the aftermath of the potato truck crash below.