CHEYENNE — Governor Mark Gordon has announced that Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will close 10 rest areas located throughout the state as a way to reduce the agency’s operational costs.
The closures are effective June 15 and were prompted by a need for WYDOT to reduce costs due to budgetary shortfalls. They were approved by the Wyoming Transportation Commission during its recent special meeting.
“This is a painful reality but a necessary step given our state’s fiscal situation,” Governor Gordon said. “This will have real impacts, not only for travelers, but for the custodial staff contracted to provide services to these facilities. These workers are our friends and neighbors in Wyoming communities around the state.”
The rest areas that will close include Lusk on US 18; Guernsey on US 26; Greybull on US 14-16-20; Moorcroft on Interstate 90; Star Valley on US 89; Ft. Steele on Interstate 80; Sundance on Interstate 90; Upton on US 16; and Orin Junction and Chugwater, both located on Interstate 25.
“We took a hard look at all of our rest areas and came up with a list of those that we feel we can close with a minimal amount of impact to our travelers,” said WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner. “It was a hard decision but one that we came to based on the needs of the public and to ensure we maintain a balanced budget.”
WYDOT officials sent letters to local community leaders and the contractors who work at the rest areas notifying them of the closures.
The rest area closures will result in a savings to WYDOT of approximately $197,453 from June 15 through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. After that, the department will save about $789,812 per year.
“Although these rest areas will close, motorists will still have access to facilities in neighboring communities,” Reiner said. “Each of the rest areas that are closing are within a reasonable distance of a town that has facilities for the public.”