I-80

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Highway deaths are up this year - more than 60 people have died on Wyoming roadways so far in 2019. This time last year, there were only 27 fatalities.

WYDOT

WYDOT is working to reopen portions of Interstate 80 and Interstate 25 following this week’s massive snowstorm.

Matt Murphy is with WYDOT District 1 in Southeast Wyoming. He says his department’s main priority is clearing snow drifts on I-80, some reaching as high as 10 feet. And the wind complicates things.   

“It looks like the high wind is supposed to continue for most of the day today. And that’s going to just kind of prolong the drifts and contribute to poor visibility especially in our wind-prone areas,” said Murphy.

WYDOT

A crash on Interstate 80 Wednesday morning has left westbound lanes closed between Rawlins and Laramie. US 30 north of Laramie and westbound lanes of I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne were also closed to help with truck traffic and congestion.

A stretch of Interstate 80 that frequently sees hazardous winter driving conditions and crashes will be getting improvements aimed at reducing those incidents. 

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.

 

A new federal transportation bill working its way through congress should provide more money to Wyoming. Interim Wyoming Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos says in highway funding alone the bill provides the state with an increase of 24 million dollars.

“That’s a boon for Wyoming and will help us improve the highway system in our state, preserve what we have invested in over the last few years and make our highways safer.” 

It will also provide the state with additional funding for a variety of other projects said Panos.

James Rumminger

Winter weather conditions with snow and strong winds will make Thanksgiving travel difficult.  Most of the snow will fall in central Wyoming, Fremont County could see around 8 inches. 

But Riverton based National Weather Service Meteorologist Paul Skrbac says snow statewide will make driving a challenge.           

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.

Ross Doman, WYDOT

A single-engine plane crashed east of Laramie Friday morning on Interstate 80. Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree says 67 year old Steven Stam from Holland, Michigan was traveling eastbound around 8am when he experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing on the westbound lane of Interstate 80. 

"He actually started to come down into the median area. May have possibly hit the median itself but not bad. And he was able to put it down and skidded off the highway at that location," says DeBree.

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.”

Doc Thiessen

Ghost towns may conjure images of old shoot-outs, tumble weed rolling down dusty streets. But there are also more modern ghost towns with less romantic stories. Laramie photographer Doc Thiessen is documenting some of the towns along the Lincoln Highway bypassed by Interstate 80.

Micah Schweizer

Marla Brown is a fifth generation Wyomingite who grew up helping run her parents’ various businesses during some of Rawlins’ booms and busts.

Courtesy PBS

The Lincoln Highway is 100 years old this year, and Wyoming PBS will be screening a new documentary about it this weekend. Much of what was the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming is now Interstate 80, but parts of the original route are still separate. The film tells the story of the highway in Wyoming. Producer Tom Manning joins us now. He says the Lincoln Highway holds an important place in Wyoming’s history and in the history of the U.S. as a whole.

Erin Dorbin

At first glance, it looks like another shuttered roadside business. The exterior is overgrown and the door is hard to find. By the look of things, you may wonder if this is the kind of place you’ll need a secret handshake to enter. What is this place exactly? It’s Pete’s Roc n Rye Club in Evanston. For our final stop on the Lincoln Highway, producer Erin Dorbin made it past the entrance and sent us this postcard.

Erin Dorbin

America's first transcontinental roadway, the Lincoln Highway, turned 100 this year. To celebrate, we’re visiting a few one-of-a-kind stops along the route in Wyoming. Producer Erin Dorbin sent this postcard from Rock Springs.

Erin Dorbin

In preparation for your upcoming road trip, you’ve already dialed the destination into your GPS. You’ve read online reviews to choose where you’ll sleep. And you probably booked the Hampton instead of that quaint motor court, right? With fewer travelers choosing rooms at smaller mid-century-era motels, how are owners adapting their businesses? Producer Erin Dorbin visited Wyoming Motel in Cheyenne to find out.

Highway Teepee: A Roadside Mystery

Dec 17, 2013
Erin Dorbin

Chances are, if you’ve driven the stretch east of Cheyenne along I-80 or Old Highway 30, you’ve seen it--that colossal white and turquoise roadside gem, the Teepee. You’ve probably also wondered, who lives there? Or simply, why a teepee? Producer Erin Dorbin sent us this postcard with some questions from Egbert.

Erin Dorbin

This summer,  the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office received a grant to survey buildings and landscapes along the I-80 corridor. Because I-80 and old US-30 roughly follow the nation’s first transcontinental highway, the project was called the ‘Lincoln Highway Survey.’ In honor of the highway’s 100th anniversary, we’ll make some stops along the road this week. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer begins our series by speaking with Beth King and Erin Dorbin from the State Historic Preservation Office.