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--- Quote from: andy3175 on July 01, 2022, 09:48:51 AM ---Yesterday, Google Maps erroneously rerouted people off Interstate 80 in Wyoming believing the interstate was closed near Rock Springs. Based on a quick test of the app today (July 1), it appears to be fixed. 

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That happens to me a ton. One time it had me going off the interstate, on some random dirt road for like 20 miles, and back onto the Interstate. Checking the WY traffic website only one lane was closed, so I stayed on. It was fine.

Updates on repairing roads in Yellowstone:

--- Quote ---Engineers will account for climate change as they design replacement highways along the rivers in and to Yellowstone National Park, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said Friday after touring the flood-damaged reserve.

Haaland, on her fourth visit to the first national park, made her remarks overlooking Old Faithful with Superintendent Cam Sholly. He said temporary roads serving two northern entrances to Yellowstone through Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana would be constructed and paved by the fall.

Their permanent replacement could take three to five years to complete, Sholly said, declining to estimate the cost of what some have said could be a billion-dollar undertaking.
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New interchange under construction on Interstate 80 in Rock Springs between US 191 Exit 99 and Business 80 Dewar Drive Exit 102.

--- Quote ---The project is a partnership between WYDOT, the City of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County to construct a new interchange and reconstruct and expand the interchange from Foothill Boulevard south to Blairtown Road. The overall project is expected to be complete by June 30, 2023. Funding for the work includes $14 million from the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant. The total project cost is about $30 million.
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News release from February 23, 2021:

--- Quote ---The Wyoming Department of Transportation and contract crews from Reiman & High Country Construction will begin preliminary work this spring on the new Interchange (Gookin) bridge, interchange and connector to Blairtown Road in Rock Springs near the Water Reclamation Facility.  Crews are mobilizing equipment in the area and could begin work as early as next month. 

The Interchange overpass bridge connects the Sunset Drive service road and Foothill Blvd. service road over Interstate 80.  The bridge has been closed to traffic since April of 2014 when it was struck by a truck carrying an excavator on the interstate. 

WYDOT received a $14 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant to construct a new interchange and reconstruct and expand Interchange Road from Foothill Blvd. south to Blairtown Road.  The $14 million grant WYDOT received is part of the $1.5 billion INFRA grant program, which is part of the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.  Although WYDOT will receive $14 million, the total cost of the project is just under $30 million.  ...

WYDOT and the City of Rock Springs hope the new project will improve traffic flow and provide a direct connection from Interstate 80 to an intermodal industrial park that provides energy-related services. 

The project includes replacing an existing bridge over the interstate to provide a higher vertical clearance, constructing eastbound and westbound ramps with continuous acceleration/deceleration lanes to Dewar Drive and building a new overpass structure over the Union Pacific Railroad for access to the industrial park.

The completion date for this project is set for June 30, 2023.
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The space for the interchange appears on Google Maps with the overpass labeled as "Interchange Road. " The existing bridge scheduled for replacement is shown as closed off on the current aerial view and can be seen on GSV.

Advocacy is underway to expand section of US 212 plowed in winter given the emergency roadway reconstruction underway in Yellowstone, but others want the road kept unplowed during winter.

--- Quote ---A newly formed park access committee hopes to develop a plan to plow an 8-mile section of U.S. Highway 212 traditionally left unplowed for snowmobilers. ...

Citing June’s catastrophic floods and the the possibility of being cut off from automobile access to food, medical care and essential supplies this winter, members of the newly formed Park Access Recommendation Committee said they plan to meet sometime in August with public officials in Montana and Wyoming to develop a plan to plow an 8-mile section of U.S. Highway 212 traditionally left unplowed for use by recreational snowmobilers.

PARC members said during their online meeting that if repairs to heavily damaged sections of the Northeast Entrance Road between Cooke City and Gardiner are not completed by winter, U.S. Highway 212 would be the only option for residents to connect by auto to the outside world. They are also looking for additional winter tourism from auto visitors to help make up for an abysmal summer to date. ...

For decades, the National Park Service has plowed the Northeast Entrance Road through the Lamar Valley, connecting Gardiner and nearby park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs to the remote mountain communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, which lie just outside the park’s Northeast Entrance.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Park County have traditionally plowed the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and a section of U.S. Highway 212 to Pilot Creek, a little more than 4 miles south of the Montana border and just over 8 miles southeast from Cooke City. That has allowed snowmobilers coming from Wyoming to use a parking area at Pilot Creek for parking trucks and trailers, and the 8-mile section of unplowed road to access a network of backcountry trails in the Beartooth Mountains around Cooke City.

The idea of plowing Highway 212 all the way to Cooke City — “plowing the plug” — has come up previously, often cited as a way to increase winter tourism in the region by allowing auto travel from Gardiner to Cody. Proponents say wolf watching, skiing, snowshoeing and ice climbing are Cooke City area activities unavailable to those arriving from the Wyoming side, except by snowmobile.

But the plug has remained unplowed, in part because of the actual or perceived financial, logistical and jurisdictional complications of clearing a remote section of alpine highway that runs through two counties, two national forests and two states.

Snowmobilers have been vocal and persistent in their opposition to plowing, arguing that it would limit some of their trail access and complicate parking, among other issues. Opponents of plowing the plug — mainly snowmobilers and some businesses that rely on them — have also claimed previously that most in the Cooke City area would prefer the highway to remain unplowed.
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Plutonic Panda:
“Others want to keep the road unplowed” SMH


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