Facing budget crisis, Wyoming closing 10 highway rest areas

Facing budget crisis, Wyoming closing 10 highway rest areas
The closures of the rest areas will start June 15 and will save about $800,000 a year.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Transportation plans to close 10 highway rest areas to save money amid a budget crisis.

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The closures starting June 15 will save about $800,000 a year, department officials said Friday.

The department is closing rest areas near Lusk on U.S. Highway 18; Guernsey on U.S. 26; Greybull on U.S. 14-16-20; Moorcroft on Interstate 90; Star Valley on U.S. 89; Ft. Steele on I-80; Sundance on I-90; Upton on U.S. 16; and Orin Junction and Chugwater, both on I-25.

The Wyoming Transportation Commission approved the closures in a special budget-related meeting May 27.

“Although these rest areas will close, motorists will still have access to facilities in neighboring communities,” Department Director Luke Reiner said in a statement. “Each of the rest areas that are closing are within a reasonable distance of a town that has facilities for the public.”

Wyoming faces a two-year budget deficit of $1 billion or more because of the COVID-19 pandemic and less revenue from its fossil-fuel extraction industry.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday he wants state agencies to identify programs to cut and prepare for 20% spending cuts in the months ahead.

“This is a painful reality but a necessary step given our state’s fiscal situation,” Gordon said of the rest area closures.

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Facing budget crisis, Wyoming closing 10 highway rest areas


Over the summer, I’m moving from Colorado to Wyoming and the state has decided to close all three Rest Areas along I-25 from Cheyenne to Casper, the route I travel. That will significantly impact truckers and travelers along I-25. I believe this is a really bad idea on Wyoming’s part. But the state is not closing the large RA in Cheyenne, it’s own back yard and right at the border of Colorado/Wyoming where there’s no public RA’s from Denver to Cheyenne. I guess I won’t be the only Greenie to stop and pee alongside the road!