Several alpine highways could open Memorial Day

Captured from WYDOT Youtube announcement

CASPER, Wyo. — Several alpine highways in Wyoming are on track to open by Memorial Day.

Wyoming Highway 77 in the Shirley Basin is already open and the Wyoming Department of Transportation said crews are working to open up additional roads.

“Highways over the snowy range, Bear Tooth Pass and the Big Horns are on track to open by Memorial Day,” WYDOT Public Affair Manager Doug McGee says in this video.

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“While most of us have put away our snow shovels and winter coats, WYDOT crews have spent the past month battling snow and ice to re-open several seasonal closures for summertime travel.”

McGee added that Wyoming Highway 70 over Battle Pass is expected to open by June 1.

WYDOT also explained the reason for seasonal closures, pointing to roads with heavy snowfall and low traffic.

“As soon as you get a storm, it would shut you down, you’d be down for two weeks and it would take you two weeks to get open and the next day it’ll blow it shut again,” WYDOT Heavy Equipment Operator Gerry Thuente said.

To clear the roads, WYDOT crews use equipment like dozers, snow-cats and rotary plows, a machine which McGee called a “super-sized version of a snow plow you might use at home.”

Thuente explained that efforts to clear the roads can be slow-moving, especially when the snow is heavy and wet.

“A mile and a half to two miles is a good day,” he said. “Some days go quick and easy and some days, you fight it.”

Snow and ice could remain on the roads into June and WYDOT says they’ll work to clear roads of ice that forms at night from daily water melt.

Road information is available at this WYDOT website.