Eastbound trailer traffic over Teton Pass gets green light May 1

JACKSON, Wyo. — After an extended closure, the Wyoming Department of Transportation will open up Teton Pass to eastbound trailer traffic beginning May 1.

WYDOT extended the seasonal trailer traffic closure of WYO 22 (Teton Pass) in the eastbound direction earlier this year due to the closure of the arrestor system, which has not been reset since it was used by a crashing pickup truck on September 10, 2019.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol will be increasing patrols in the area and the Weigh-in-Motion system (WIM) on Teton Pass will be updated to flag and notify authorities of vehicles exceeding the new 40,000-lb weight restriction.

Crews have been working to provide an interim system for errant vehicles to utilize until the permanent modifications to the vehicle arrestor system can be finalized and installed. A temporary system called a “sand barrel array” will be installed within the current catch-net arrestor sometime in the next 2-3 weeks, and will remain active until permanent changes can be implemented on the arrestor.

A “sand barrel array” utilizes a configuration of impact barrels filled with varying amounts of weight or sand to stop an errant vehicle. The barrels, filled with varying amounts of sand, disperse on impact and slow an errant vehicle, eventually stopping it. This system is most efficient for lighter weight trucks at lower speeds. In addition, this system will not be operable until crews receive materials and install the barrels, which is estimated to take a couple weeks.

Currently, there is only one escape ramp open on WYO 22 Teton Pass, located at milepost 8.2, which is approximately a mile above the current closed vehicle arrestor.

“We understand the need to open the pass to trailers for commerce and the local economies, so we have elected to open the pass, under these new restrictions until we can get the permanent improvements constructed on the catch-net arrestor system,” WYDOT District Engineer Keith Compton said.

A runaway pickup truck hauling logs did severe damage to the truck arrestor on Teton Pass last fall. Photo: Will Smith, MD, Paramedic, FAEMS

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