Facing budget crisis, Wyoming closing 10 highway rest areas

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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.

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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1 COMMENT

  1. 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!

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