RAWLINS, Wyo. — Trucker Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has launched a multiyear project that will add nearly 100 new winter truck parking spaces, along with other safety improvements, to Interstate 80. Work on WYDOT’s I-80 Winter Freight project began the week of Oct. 20.
The project will bring nearly 100 new truck parking spaces to two sites along I-80, bringing the total number of spaces at the two locations to nearly 200. The Fort Steele rest area is about 7 miles east of Sinclair, Wyoming, at mile marker 228, and the Quealy Dome truck parking area is 20 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming, at mile marker 290.
“If weather conditions are poor or I-80 is closed, the new truck parking will provide additional options for truck drivers to park safely while they wait for conditions to improve,” said Tim Morton, WYDOT’s District 1 construction engineer.
Additionally, semitruck climbing lanes will be installed along approximately 2 miles of eastbound I-80 over Halleck Ridge (about 8 miles west of Elk Mountain, between mile markers 250.5 and 252.5) and along approximately 2 miles of westbound I-80 between Cooper Cove and Quealy Dome (mile markers 279.5 to 281.5), near the Albany County line.
“Climbing lanes help with traffic flow, especially on inclines with steep grades,” Morton said. “They also help prevent secondary crashes when I-80 reopens after an extended road closure.”
According to WYDOT, Simon Contractors began work in and around the Fort Steele rest area last week. The Fort Steele rest area, along with nine other rest areas in the state, was closed in June as a cost-saving measure. Facilities and parking at the rest area will remain closed during I-80 Winter Freight project construction. WYDOT asks that commercial drivers and other motorists not park on the on- and off-ramps of the interstate, as it will potentially impede work in the area. Once the project is complete, the Fort Steele rest area will reopen to the public.
The $20 million project is funded by a federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant and is expected to be complete in October 2022. All WYDOT project scheduling is subject to change, including due to inclement weather and material or equipment availability. More information about this project will be released as it progresses.