April 26, 2022 |
Construction work resumes tomorrow on a project to create nearly 200 parking spaces for trucks waiting out highway closures between Rawlins and Laramie resumes tomorrow.
The Winter Freight Project began in 2020 with work at Fort Steele, where 100 new semitruck spaces are planned. Another 100 spaces will built at the Quealey Dome truck stop west of Laramie. The Fort Steele Rest Area, including parking areas, will remain closed during construction.
WYDOT originally planned to put the truck parking at Walcott Junction, not Fort Steele. Assistant Chief Engineer Keith Fulton told Bigfoot 99 that right-of-way issues forced a change in location.
Pictured above: File photo of parked semi trucks during a closure of I-80 due to ground blizzard conditions. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.
The increase in parking will provide more places for truck drivers to park safely during highway closures or if weather conditions are poor. Other safety measures are planned with the project. Two miles of climbing lanes will be built on eastbound I-80 over Halleck Ridge about eight miles west of Elk Mountain. Another two miles of climbing lanes are planned westbound between Cooper Cove and Quealy Dome near the Albany County line. Fulton said the climbing lanes are designed for slower moving trucks.
WYDOT said the climbing lanes will help reduce secondary traffic when the interstate 80 reopens after an extended road closure. Motorists can expect short lane closures during construction of the climbing lanes. WYDOT also asks motorists to avoid parking on the entrance and exit ramps at the Fort Steele interchange during the parking lot construction. Once the project is complete, the rest area will reopen.
First started in the fall of 2020, 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 of this year, depending on weather and availability of equipment.