The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has announced plans to make improvements to increase safety for truck drivers on a 45 mile stretch of interstate notorious for high winds and severe winter weather.
After winning a $20 million federal grant, WYDOT announced that they will be making improvements to I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins as part of a project called the “I-80 Winter Freight Improvement Project.”
One of the biggest changes WYDOT is planning is adding truck parking to give drivers a safe place to wait for weather conditions to improve. WYDOT has plans to create two truck parking areas at Walcott Junction and Quealy Dome. Each of the truck parking areas will accommodate about 100 trucks. The truck parking areas will also be equipped with “communication devices” to allow WYDOT to share travel information with the drivers.
The planned improvements also include adding truck passing lanes two miles eastbound over Halleck Ridge and 3.53 miles westbound between Cooper Cove and Quealy Dome Road. WYDOT says that these passing lanes should reduce the number of secondary crashes that occur when the interstate reopens after a crash.
WYDOT Director Bill Panos said, “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.”
Work on the project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.
WYDOT says that 2,600 traffic accidents (1,323 of which involved trucks) occurred on I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins between 2008 and 2017.