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Wildlife crossings are planned along US 189 in western Wyoming.

--- Quote ---A 17-mile wildlife crossing project in southwestern Wyoming will make a significant difference for mule deer in the region, according to an official with the Muley Fanatic Foundation.

Josh Coursey, president and CEO of the foundation, told Cowboy State Daily he was excited about this week’s start of work on the Dry Piney Wildlife Crossing Project near LaBarge.

“It’s a very expensive project at $15 million, but it’s truly the flavor of the day for how conservation in the 21st century works,” Coursey said. “The one thing about overpasses and underpasses, you can quantify their success instantaneously.”

The project includes fencing about 17 miles of U.S. Highway 189 and building nine underpasses beneath the highway.

The project should be complete by fall of 2023, Coursey said, but likely, at least a few of the underpasses will be open by the end of the year.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, there are an average of 6,000 collisions between vehicles and big game in Wyoming every year, which result in $20 million to $23 million in wildlife losses and $24 million to $29 million in personal injury costs.

Eighty-five percent of the wildlife collisions in the state involve mule deer. Fifteen percent of all Wyoming crashes involve wildlife.

The Dry Piney area is the third “hottest” spot in the state for wildlife collisions, according to MFF.
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--- Quote ---A major spring snow storm dumped more than 3 feet of snow on northwest Wyoming over the Memorial Day weekend, stranding dozens of travelers on the Chief Joseph Highway.

Dozens of people caught in the storm that closed Wyoming Highway 296, which connects Cody to Cooke City, Montana, and the Beartooth Highway, had to be rescued by Department of Transportation personnel, according to Cody Beers, a department public relations specialist.

“There were vehicles blocked there last night and spun out on the road,” Beers told Cowboy State Daily midday Monday. “There’s at least two feet of snow up on (Dead Indian Pass) and there was a pretty good line of cars, 10 to 12 cars backed up.”

To make matters worse, Beers said a pickup with a camper in the back had spun out, blocking the road for oncoming traffic.

As of late Monday morning, however, Beers said a WYDOT loader had arrived and was clearing the road so vehicles could pass.

“He’s been digging a trail down through the road,” he said, “and I’m sure he’s going to go clear to the bottom and see if there’s other people spun out on the switchbacks on the backside of Dead Indian (Pass).”

Additionally, Beers told Cowboy State Daily a power line had come down on the highway due to the heavy, wet snow, creating dangerous sparks.  ...

Beers urged people to stay off the highways if possible.

“I’m sure people made the decision to try to get out of (the mountains), and then it only took one vehicle to get stopped, to stop the entire convoy of vehicles coming out,” he said.

Chief Joseph was only one of the highways closed due to weather this weekend. Sylvan Pass closed at 6:30 a.m. Monday, cutting off the only access to Yellowstone from the East Gate; U.S Highway 14A was closed from Lovell to Dayton over the Bighorn Mountains, and Beartooth Pass, which was scheduled to open for the season this weekend, remained closed due to the winter storm.
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Concerns with a landslide on US 14 in Dayton....

--- Quote ---Landslide near Dayton not safety concern, WyDOT says

SHERIDAN (WNE) — A spot being monitored for a potential landslide on U.S. Highway 14 east of Steamboat Point does not pose safety concerns for motorists, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

“We’re not concerned about safety,” WYDOT Senior Public Relations Specialist Laura Dalles said. “It’s something we have been watching for a number of years. Right now, (workers) are up there putting in a potential temporary additional lane, so in the event that the shoulder does slide off, we have a way to divert traffic.”

Maintenance crews have been working in the right of way just east of Steamboat Point on the highway above Dayton since May 26.

This work is a preventative measure in the event the roadway gives way to a landslide. WYDOT District 4 maintenance staff and geologists have been watching at mile marker 69.8 for some time.

According to WYDOT geologist James Dahill, landslides are not unique to the stretch of U.S. 14 and happen in other areas of Wyoming. WYDOT began monitoring the site several years ago just below the highway and knew it would move progressively up the terrain toward the highway.

Dahill said the challenge with the Little Tongue River landslide is that US 14 crosses the slide at the waistline, or midpoint, of the slide. This means there is just as much slide-prone material above the road as there is below the roadway. Because of the nature of this geological structure, each year’s melting snowpack and yearly erosion results in the weak shale becoming saturated over time.
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Concerns over traffic at a Dairy Queen on Pershing Boulevard in Cheyenne.

--- Quote ---It’s usually a good thing when business is booming and customers are lined-up to visit. But in Cheyenne, one local fast food restaurant is so busy that ill-will is being served on the menu along with the food.

The problem is the location. The city’s sole Dairy Queen is located on one of the most busy streets, Pershing Boulevard.

Once COVID shut the lobby down, it’s stayed closed. But it’s more popular than ever. And it’s all drive-thru traffic.

As a result, cars will line up in the left lane of the two-lane eastbound section of the street leaving just one lane open for travel. ...

Cheyenne resident Kayla Parker told Cowboy State Daily that she is “fed-up” with what she called a parking lot in front of Dairy Queen and now refuses to drive on Pershing Boulevard.

“Guaranteed that someone will get killed there,” Parker said.  “No one obeys the speed limit, people are flying down Pershing at 70mph and then a bunch of dumbasses are sitting in the middle of the street waiting for their stupid chili cheese dog.”

“I’ve called the police numerous times and get jack squat,” she continued.  “My advice is for everyone to call the police department and complain.” ....

The restaurant is a hot topic on the Cheyenne Rants and Raves Facebook page. Recently, a meme was posted reminding drivers that Pershing Boulevard was a street, not a Dairy Queen parking lot.

The post went viral and featured, like many similar posts, anger, insults, and ad hominem attacks.
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Flooding impacted roads in and around Yellowstone National Park including the northern half of the Grand Loop Road and portions of US 89 and US 212 leading into Montana over the past weekend. Articles follow....

--- Quote ---Yellowstone National Park received 2 to 3 inches of rain that fell on approximately 5-1/2 inches of snow. The precipitation and associated warming temperatures melted the snow and caused a major flood event in most of the northern range of Yellowstone, swelling the Yellowstone and Lamar rivers, and all of the associated tributaries, to levels not seen before in the park’s recorded history.

“These supercell storm features have hit around this country before,” said Bob Smith, Professor of Geophysics and Geology at the University of Utah. “But I have not experienced one that big around Yellowstone, and I’ve been working there for 65 years.” ...

The visible landscape of the northern part of America’s first national park is most likely changed forever, as (Yellowstone Superintendent Cam) Sholly noted that U.S. Highway 89 between the Montana communities of Mammoth and Cooke City will likely be rebuilt on a different footprint. ...

Sholly showed photos of destruction throughout the northern part of Yellowstone, pointing out where roads have been completely washed away and where the Yellowstone River has potentially changed its course permanently.

“One section in the intersection between Lamar Valley and Cooke City is another example where the road’s been completely washed away,” he said, “and so we’ll be evaluating whether or not we need to make some roadway realignments.”

Much of the damage done to the Park is not visible from the paved highway, Sholly pointed out.

“There are literally hundreds and hundreds of bridges in the back country that we’ll need to do evaluations on moving forward,” he said. “There is a lot of debris, especially in areas where the rivers ran across the roads and brought down substantial numbers of trees, which will require considerable work.”
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--- Quote ---Yellowstone National Park will adopt a reservation or timed entry system to prevent overloading of the park’s southern loop while its northern loop remains closed due to damage caused by flooding, according to park Superintendent Cam Sholly. ...

The park was closed and more than 10,000 visitors were removed Monday as torrential rain and melting snow resulted in rivers being swollen to record levels.

The floods washed out portions of the roads in the park’s northern half and Sholly had said earlier it is unlikely the road between the Montana communities of Gardiner and Cooke City will be reopened this season. The park’s northern loop itself is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time.
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