highways

USFWS Mountain Prairie

A scientist says more than 6,000 deer are hit and killed on Wyoming roads each year, causing more than $50 million in injuries and damage to cars and wildlife. One scientist is studying the new nighttime speed limits to see if they really work.

jacdupree via Flickr

Vehicle collisions with bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are up this year. A total of eight grizzlies have been hit by cars in 2016, more than records from 2012 through 2015 combined.

Most recently, a 260 pound grizzly bear was killed on Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park.

The National Park Service received a call Sunday that a driver had seen the carcass on the side of the road. Park Rangers found the vehicle involved in the crash a mile up the road, and did not cite the driver.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

Several thousand gallons of crude oil are believed to have leaked from a tractor-trailer following a crash near Wright in northeast Wyoming Sunday morning. 

According to a press release, the commercial truck was hauling a semi-trailer and pup trailer full of crude oil when it ran off Wyoming State Highway 450 and into a ditch. Truck driver Nathan Gibson then tried to steer the truck back onto the highway, but was unsuccessful, and the truck rolled.

Credit Creative Commons

A recent study shows Wyoming parents can expect the fourth highest increase in auto insurance rates nationwide when they add a teen driver, but Wyoming drivers pay little for auto insurance overall.

The study by InsuranceQuotes.com, an online marketplace for purchasing car insurance, found that when a teen starts to drive, a Wyoming family’s auto insurance rate more than doubles, with an increase of 105.8 percent.

Insurance Information Institute spokesman Michael Barry said factors unique to Wyoming contribute to why it’s so expensive to insure teen drivers.

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has released a new smartphone app to provide users with travel information and road conditions. Users of the app can plan their trip according to road conditions through WYDOT's map feature. The app, called 'Wyoming 511,' can read aloud updates about conditions via text message.

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.

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.”

Wikimedia Commons

With federal highway funding once again facing uncertainty, Wyoming officials have already had to postpone transportation projects. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how Wyoming’s all Republican delegation is trying to do to shore up the program.

Dan Boyce

It’s no secret that America’s roads are in trouble.

Our highways, interstates and bridges are crumbling and there's an estimated $90 billion dollar annual shortfall in funding to make the fixes. So, now would be a good time to raise gas taxes, right? That’s the main funding source for road infrastructure, has been for decades. Wyoming, and Iowa have raised theirs in recent years, other states are considering it. But, as Dan Boyce with our Inside Energy team tells us, gas taxes are not a long-term solution.

saferoads.org

Wyoming ranks among the worst states for auto safety laws. That’s according to a new report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Eight other states were rated as red in the report, which means they have less than half of the organization’s recommended laws like mandatory seatbelt enforcement and required helmet use for all motorcyclists.

Bunky Loucks is a Representative from Casper and says he sees no need for state laws to change.

Robert Verzo via Flickr

Governor Matt Mead is proposing adding passing lanes to some of the state’s highways including Highway 59 between Douglas and Gillette. Mead’s budget proposal would use 21 million dollars in state funds for the upgrades.

Jim Willox is the Chairman of the Converse County Commissioners and says the proposed lanes would ease the surge in energy traffic on the 170 mile highway.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Association

Deaths on Wyoming highways have risen sharply this year. While there were 87 fatalities in 2013, there have been 136 in 2014. 61 percent of the people who died on Wyoming highways this year were not wearing seatbelts.

Sergeant David Wagener with the Wyoming Highway Patrol says that while seatbelts are mandatory in the state, seatbelt laws are only enforceable after a driver has been pulled over for another offense like speeding. He also says people still choose to break that law.

Penny Preston

Cody – Grizzly bears, moose, bison, and many other Yellowstone area animals are hit and killed by speeding motorists every year. But now, a baby moose that made newspaper and magazine headlines when it survived a raging river, has been photographed all alone. Locals fear it is orphaned and unlikely to survive, because a motorist killed its mother. It’s led to a renewed discussion over speed limits and signs in forested areas of northwest Wyoming.

A heavy snowpack swelled the Shoshone River this spring.

Doug Mahugh via Flickr

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

Governor Matt Mead says the number of highway fatalities has been decreasing. 

"Wyoming began tracking highway fatalities in 1967 and if we finish the year up well we will have had 82 highway fatalities, which will be the lowest number since 1967," Mead said.

At this time last year, there were already 112 fatalities.

However, Mead warned that the holiday season tends to be the deadliest in Wyoming and drivers can expect a lot of enforcement out on the roads to help keep that number from growing.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation may be one of the state agencies that benefits from the better than expected earnings Wyoming brought in this fiscal year. The state’s general fund is about $333 million over what the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, or CREG, predicted.

  Governor Matt Mead says he’s gone through WYDOT’s budget once, but may review it again.

Wyoming’s highways rank third in the nation in performance and efficiency.  That’s according to an annual highway report by the Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank that studies public policy.  Author David Hartgen says Wyoming gets a lot less money than other states, but spends it well.

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would increase the gas tax by $.10 per-gallon. 

The Wyoming Department of Transportation would lose money for airports, under the governor’s proposed eight-percent budget cuts.

WYDOT Budget Officer Kevin Hibbard says they would have to cut funding for airport improvements and airline service.

“There would probably be a reduction in some commercial air service in local Wyoming communities,” Hibbard said. “And also I think that a backlog of projects would take place for the airport improvements.”

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