WYDOT installing new signs on pass for avalanche control

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Wyoming Department of Transportation avalanche crew recently had new signs installed on Teton Pass and Coal Creek turnouts. The signs are black-on-white regulatory signs reading: “Avalanche Control – No Parking When Flashing.” Crews will be in the area in the coming weeks to install the flashing beacons on the signs, weather permitting.

WYDOT has been working with the US Forest Service to provide improved notification and warning for closure times due to avalanche work.

“The goal of the signage is to minimize closure times when conducting avalanche control work. When vehicles are parked and there is uncertainty as to the whereabouts of the vehicle owners the control work is delayed, sometimes by hours, until the entire area is clear,” WYDOT Avalanche Technician John Fitzgerald said.

By giving advanced warning with the signs, WYDOT aims to keep closure times to a minimum while allowing the avalanche team to do their work in managing avalanche hazards that affect the highway.

Typical control missions begin in the middle of the night, usually around 3am. Going forward, when WYDOT initiates a control mission the flashing lights will begin flashing the night of the mission earlier in the evening.

“There will be cases where control missions take place at different times based on weather. In these cases, the lights will go on with as much notice as possible. The end goal is to avoid having anyone in harm’s way while we are conducting the work,” Fitzgerald said.

WYDOT will still continue with their current notifications by press release and with our 511 notify system.

“Still, the best way to get the most up-to-date information is by subscribing to 511 notify. You can customize the settings and get the info you need in a timely manner, including road conditions and closures,” Fitzgerald added.

Drivers found violating the signs (statute 31-5-502) can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof by any court of competent jurisdiction, is subject to a fine of not more than $50.

Teton Basin District Ranger Jay Pence said, “We are fortunate to have the premier recreation opportunities off Teton Pass, but safety is the number one priority for everyone involved.  While it may be inconvenient at times for backcountry users, it remains important to work with WYDOT to keep the highway safe for both recreational users and the traveling public.”

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