WYDOT updates road closure definitions

October 2, 2019

Motorists traveling through Wyoming will now have a better understanding of the types of closures the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) may have to implement during the winter months.

WYDOT officials expanded and clarified the closures to give the traveling public even more information. The definitions are posted on WYDOT’s 511 website.

“We wanted to clarify some of our closures to avoid any confusion and to give the public more information when we have a certain closure,” said Stephanie Harsha, public relations specialist for District 3 out of Rock Springs.  “These definitions will be available on our 511 website so motorists can not only learn a road is closed due to certain conditions but also learn why the road is closed.”

WYDOT already has definitions on its 511 website that explain closures and weather events. The new closures expand on previous definitions and may replace others.

One of the new definitions is “rolling closures.” The small towns along Interstate 80 have limited resources in terms of parking, fuel, hotel rooms and other amenities. When a town is at capacity, which can happen during a long-duration closure, the closure will be rolled back to the next town to avoid stranding travelers in a location without adequate services. The road may be open in the direction leading away from the affected area.

WYDOT attempts to make accommodations for travelers who do not put a demand on an affected community's resources by issuing local traffic only restrictions and through the WYDOT Authorized Travel program.

The other new definitions on WYDOT’s 511 website are “partial closure” and “local traffic only.”

For a partial closure, a road is closed to some vehicles but not all.

“This type of closure can include no trailer traffic, closure to light, high-profile vehicles, and may only permit local traffic,” Harsha said.

A partial closure can also impact one lane of travel but not the other. For example, a section of road on Interstate 80 could be closed to eastbound traffic but open to westbound traffic because the incident isn’t impacting the westbound lane of travel.

For the local traffic only closure, a section of road is only open to commuters and local residents but closed to through traffic. 

Motorists can learn more about the new definitions, sign up for WYDOT’s Authorized Travel program and get the latest road and travel conditions, by visiting WYDOT’s 511 website.
For additional information about this news release, contact Aimee Inama, senior Public Affairs specialist, at (307) 777-4013.