Wyoming Drivers: Please Be Patient With The Plows
The wet, heavy, slick snow is everywhere today, but the plows can't be.
So that requires patience on the part of those the Wyoming Department of Transportation is trying to serve, namely you.
WYDOT first plows those roads that are used by the most people, said Jeff Goetz, spokesman for WYDOT's Casper area office.
"In any storm, we tend to work on the interstate first," Goetz said.
"That's the highest priority around Casper," he said. "Beyond that, what we do is we go out to U.S. 20-26 and Wyoming 220. Those would be the next two in line in the Casper area. Beyond that is the Old Glenrock Highway, and then we start getting into some of the secondary roads like Casper Mountain Road. Hat Six would be pretty low on the priority."
Crews have been out on the highways since about 4:30 a.m. today. They're making progress, but a lot of roads remain closed, Goetz said. Check out wyoroad.info for WYDOT updates, and click first on the "closures and advisories" link because the interactive map is slow because of heavy usage.
Besides the sheer volume of snow blanketing the state and closing businesses, the heavy wet stuff we see causes another set of problems.
Powdery snow offers more traction for the plows, he said. "Whereas this stuff, when it's right around freezing, tends to freeze. So you'll see a lot more icy conditions on the highways rather than the dry, powdery snow that we tend to have."
As of noon today, nearly all primary and secondary highways in the southern half of the state are either closed or have "no unnecessary travel" advisories.
Meanwhile, the plows are trying to keep up even as the snow will continue to fall through today.
WYDOT is using its tow plows, which can clear a 26-foot path compared to a regular truck that can clear about 14 feet, Goetz said. "So going through town on I-25, we can can plow both of those lanes, the driving lanes, at one time."
And this is where you, the motorist, come in.
"If it's plowing both lanes at one time, there's really no way around it," Goetz said. "The drivers look out for cars behind them."
If plow drivers can find a place to pull over, they will and let cars pass them, he said. "I would just encourage people to be patient when behind a plow."
And don't do dumb things.
On Tuesday, as WYDOT was pre-treating highways, some motorists drove on the shoulders to pass plows, he said. "It just makes a dangerous situation for them and the drivers. So if you're behind a plow, just have some patience."