Tyler Johnson, [email protected]
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (January 5, 2021) – During the winter months, snowy conditions combined with high gusty winds make it difficult to drive on roads, especially Interstate-80, for passenger vehicles and high-profile vehicles.
In order to keep commuters safe while they travel, the Wyoming Highway Patrol often shuts down the interstate to prevent vehicles from blowing over. However, many times mother nature can still get the best of them.
According to Public Affairs Specialist for WYDOT Amy Inama, maintenance workers and the WHP monitor the weather and road conditions to determine if the interstate should be closed.
“Only time we close is when weather conditions are too bad or there is a crash that takes up multiple lanes,” she said.
According to WyoRoad.info.com, a partial road closure is defined as when “the road is closed to some but not all vehicles or the road is closed in only one direction (for example only northbound traffic is permitted). This type of closure can include no trailer traffic, closure to light, high-profile vehicles, and local traffic only.”
Sergeant Jeremy Beck said what considers a high-profile vehicle or vehicle with a light trailer is determined by the driver, adding there’s no weight requirement when driving on those roads.
He said it’s usually anything that is not heavy enough to overturn.
In order to keep drivers informed, the transportation management center posts signs warning of wind gusts that may restrict drivers from traveling on the interstate.
When there are enough troopers available, they will be posted at certain areas to sort out vehicles that can pass through or must turnaround and find the nearest truck stop to wait out the storm.
According to WyoRoad.info.com, an extreme blow over risk is defined as, “locations where wind gusts are 60 mph or more and where adequate signage to indicate a closure to light, high profile vehicles is not available, WYDOT will issue an Extreme Blow Over Risk warning.
“This type of warning may also be initiated when conditions are very icy but the wind gust threshold is less than 60 mph.
“The warning is targeted at vehicles that are prone to being blown over or being blown off the road such as recreational vehicles, moving vans, campers, small trailers and lightly loaded commercial vehicles but smaller vehicles pulling trailers are also included in this restriction.”