Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Tuesday closure scheduled in canyon


A two-hour closure of U.S. 20/Wyoming 789 through Wind River Canyon is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 27, to help rockfall mitigation crews have adequate time to safely drop a large rock and other debris on and near the highway. All work is dependent upon favorable weather.

Wilson Brothers Construction of Cowley is the prime contractor on the $600,000-plus effort to clean up rockfall from April and May falling rock and mud slides inside Wind River Canyon between Shoshoni and Thermopolis.

"We're anticipating that when the big rock comes down, it will bring down a lot of rock with it and rocks will land in the north-bound travel lane of U.S. 20/Wyoming 789," said Wyoming Department of Transportation resident engineer Kaia Tharp of Thermopolis. "This two-hour closure of the highway will allow the contractor time to safely bring down the big rock and clean up the rock and other debris that falls on the highway."

Tharp said the big rock is located at milepost 117.2 inside Wind River Canyon, roughly 16 miles south of Thermopolis, or about halfway between Shoshoni and Thermopolis.

The road closure will be in effect from the south side of the Wind River Canyon tunnels — due to sight distance concerns — to north of the work zone. Digital message signs warning people of the closure will be in place on each end of Wind River Canyon.

Wyoming Department of Transportation District Engineer Pete Hallsten expects contract rock removal to be complete by the July 4 holiday. "Work will be shut down in Wind River Canyon between July 1-4, and only a few more days of work are expected after the holiday," Hallsten said.

During the ongoing rockfall work in June, traffic delays of up to 25 minutes have been in effect. "We appreciate everyone's patience with this rockfall work," Tharp said, "which is intended to improve highway safety through Wind River Canyon, and to help WYDOT meet its mission of providing a safe, high quality and efficient transportation system for the citizens and travelers of Wyoming."


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