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Interstate 80

Wyoming Interstates Open; Thousands of Truckers Get Back To Work

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Gentlemen, start your engines.

It’s a dated reference but the sentiment is clear: it’s time to go.

And go they did. Truckers, that is. They had been lined up near Interstate 80 onramps for more than three days as a historic late-winter blizzard in Wyoming shut down much of Wyoming.

Whether it was a photo taken in Cheyenne, Evanston, or all points in between, hundreds, if not thousands, of truckers were given the green flag — appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day — at 9:30 Wednesday morning and off they went.

Only hours earlier, the same thing happened on I-25 after days of waiting.

Having so many truckers packed in together spooked some Cowboy State Daily readers.

“I’ve been through this scene many times over the years. When the roads first open up, sit back and have another cup of coffee or 2. Let the traffic thin out a little before you hit the road,” said Karla Roich on Cowboy State Daily’s Facebook page.

Two commenters wagered on when a massive accident and subsequent shutdown of I-80 would take place due to so many trucks on the road. (They both lost as I-80 stayed open and no wrecks were reported).

Dennis Arends, a truck driver for 42 years, said these drivers should have planned better.

“Better planning would have prevented most of this,” he said. “There was plenty of warnings. It’s always a gamble to cross I-80 Wyoming during winter months due to closers.”

To be fair, meteorologists don’t always get it right.

Wyoming meteorologist Don Day said he was getting texts on Saturday morning and afternoon questioning whether his forecast of heavy snow was going to happen.

By Sunday morning, everybody knew: Day was 100% right. He nailed it.

When asked if he’s ever wanted to start one of his highly-watched podcasts by saying “I told you so,” he quickly said no — and not necessarily because of humility. More because of Karma.

“The weather gods will kick my ass on the next storm,” Day said.

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Interstate 80 Between Cheyenne and Rawlins Closed Due to Weather and Accidents

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Photo credit: Terry Butler

If it doesn’t seem that long ago that Interstate 80 was closed due to inclement weather, it’s because it hasn’t been that long ago. 

Last year, in fact, the state hit a record for the number of times I-80 was closed down due to Mother Nature. 

And she struck again today.

On Sunday afternoon, portions of the most-infamous part of Interstate 80 were closed due to winter-like weather and a series of accidents.

“10 semis and at least five cars and trucks are in a pileup wreck,” Terry Butler wrote on the Facebook page Wyoming Road and Weather Condition Updates. “There are at least 300 semis and vehicles behind them.”

Butler was referring to an accident that occurred east of Cheyenne near Burns.

Here’s the latest:

I-80 between Cheyenne and Rawlins (both directions are closed) and the estimated reopening time is 18-20 hours.

If you are stuck, hopefully you have fuel, warm clothes, boots, Internet access, food, something to drink, seats that fully recline, an iPad, and a Netflix account. 

Ideally, you would be driving in an RV.  That way, you could take a shower, cook a turkey, stretch out on the couch, and watch NFL Red Zone. RV is the way to go.

I-80 eastbound between Creston Junction and Rawlins due to rolling closure. No estimates on that reopening.

I-80 westbound between Pine Bluffs and Cheyenne due to crash. No estimates on reopening time.

US 30/287 between Bosler and Walcott Junction. This is a rough stretch of road weather-wise. If you are stuck here, hunker down. Your estimated reopening time 18-20 hours.

US 287 south of Laramie (estimated reopening time unknown).

The winter storm is impacting travel throughout the region, with strong winds and blowing snow making for very limited visibility.

No unnecessary travel on I-25 or mountain passes like WYO 70 through Battle Pass or WYO 130 through the Snowy Range.

If all of this is making you wonder why Interstate 80 was built where it was, check out this interesting article.

And you can check here for the latest road conditions.

For latest road conditions, go to wyoroad.info, download the 511 app or call 511.

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