May 23, 2023 |
Photo – Rotary Plow on Hwy 130 – Courtesy WYDOT
The unofficial start of summer in southern Wyoming is always marked by the opening of Highway 130 over the Snowy Range, and Highway 70 over Battle Pass for Memorial Day Weekend. This year is no different.
Every winter, the Wyoming Department of Transportation closes both high-country scenic byways to traffic. WYDOT’s resources are better spent keeping the state’s main roadways open to traffic.
The past winter dumped a lot of snow on our area. According to the National Resource Conservation Service, the Snowy Range received over four more feet of snow compared to last year. Exact data isn’t available for the area over Highway 70, but existing data suggests the totals are even higher. With so much more snowpack in the mountains, people have doubts that WYDOT will open the passes in time for Memorial Day.
WYDOT Public Relations Specialist Andrea Staley said Highway 130, through the Snowy Range, is expected to be open this weekend, if not earlier.
To clear the snowpack as quickly as possible, WYDOT crews start on each end of the pass and meet in the middle. In the Snowy Range, plow drivers broke through in early May. Staley said since then, crews have been letting some of the snow melt naturally while focusing on eliminating the larger drifts.
Battle Pass is another story. Staley said the Sierra Madre’s received far more snow than the Snowy Range. As in the Snowy Range, WYDOT crews started clearing snow from each end Wyoming 70 in the Sierra Madres. As of the reporting of this story, Staley said plow crews had not reached the middle. However, she said they are confident they will still make the Memorial Day weekend deadline.
Staley said Platte Valley residents should expect Highway 130 to be open on time. Check on the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Facebook page for up-to-date information regarding the opening of Battle Pass.