Snowy Range Pass Opens in Time for Memorial Day Weekend [PHOTOS]
The scenic Snowy Range Pass between Centennial and Saratoga has been buried under snow for months, but drivers can use the highway again starting Wednesday, May 25.
Highway 130 from Highway 230 to Laramie reopened at 9 a.m., and Aimee Inama with the Wyoming Department of Transportation said the rest of the highway was expected to reopen later Wednesday morning.
The pass closes each fall, along with Highway 70 over Battle Pass and US 14A between Burgess Junction and Lovell, due to heavy winter snowfall. This year, crews working to clear Snowy Range Pass encountered drifts between eight and 20 feet high.
"We encountered some pretty high drifts along the pass,” said Tye Fix, maintenance area supervisor for Laramie. “But typically, the Laramie side gets less snow than the Saratoga side. The Saratoga crew typically encounters more snow."
WYDOT crews worked from both sides of the pass and met in about the middle.
Crews first use dozers to remove the deeper snow. When the remaining snow is down to about five feet high, crews use rotary snow blowers and follow up with snowplows.
"Everything went smoothly this year and the pass is now open for the season,” said Tim McGary, district maintenance engineer in Laramie. “Although we ran into some maintenance issues with some of our rotary snow blowers, we were able to get them all up and running so we could continue on schedule with reopening the pass."
The pass is open, but WYDOT says high banks of snow in many areas off the road reduce visibility for drivers. Motorists will want to drive cautiously and keep an eye out for slick spots created by melting snow that freezes again as temperatures drop overnight.
US 14A reopened May 20, and WYDOT expects Highway 70 to reopen at the beginning of June.