Wyomingites have a saying about the changing seasons in the Cowboy State. There’s only two — winter and road construction.
And just what do they say about road construction? Well, nothing that can be reprinted here.
Spring/summer construction is in full swing throughout the Cowboy State and travelers are no doubt finding this out, probably the hard way.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation will spend nearly half a billion dollars ($494,889,977) this fiscal year on road construction.
At times, it may feel like all that money, all that effort, is kicking up dust right there just up ahead as you wait behind a highway flagger for the OK to move through.
The nature of roadwork in Wyoming is it all has to happen within a tight timeframe. In many parts of the state now, road construction is well underway. In other areas, crews are still waiting for overnight temps to warm enough to begin pouring asphalt.
And in some select mountainous places, like Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212) north of Yellowstone, WYDOT plows are still clearing highways of snow.
It's a big state with 6,859 miles of road the Wyoming Department of Transportation is responsible for. With limited budget and calendar days, WYDOT does what it can when it can. That often means aggravated drivers come June, July and August.
The Wyoming Transportation Commission regularly updates and approves maintenance across Wyoming. STIP, or the State Transportation Improvement Plan, is a six-year outline of projects that guides budgeting decisions. WYDOT just began a new round of STIP that will take the department from 2023-2028.
All that administrative stuff is a yawner for anyone not on the state payroll. All motorists care about is what’s up ahead that might throw off my estimated time of arrival.
There’s an app for that.
Press releases from WYDOT come fast and furious during construction season.
Next week, WYDOT will begin work retrofitting the CatchNET runaway truck system on U.S. Highway 16 west of Buffalo. A $5.82 million pavement improvement project got underway May 24 on U.S. 26/287 near Crowheart. Guardrail replacement is underway on U.S. 16 in Ten Sleep Canyon; expect delays. And Park County motorists will see plenty of orange cones this summer with the replacement of the bridge over the Shoshone River on state Highway 120.
Thankfully, there is a way to keep up with all of the construction and better plan that summer trip.
Wyoroad.info is a one-stop shopping center chockful of useful information. From road closures and alerts, to bulletins on construction areas, the useful website has it all.
A companion mobile version (Wyoming 511) also is available for text alerts and tollfree road condition reports.