Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) announced it is closing 10 rest areas across the state as part of Governor Gordon’s directive to cut located operational costs across all agencies, per a release from the Governor’s office Friday morning.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, the Governor announced the state budget needed to be decreased by one-fifth or 20% and has asked state agencies to submit recommendations for cutting costs.
The closures will take effect on June 15 and were approved by the Wyoming Transportation Commission during its recent special meeting. The closures will save WYDOT approximately $197,453 between June 15 and the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. After that, the department expects these closures to save the state about $789,812 per year.
“This is a painful reality but a necessary step given our state’s fiscal situation,” Governor Gordon said. “This will have real impacts, not only for travelers, but for the custodial staff contracted to provide services to these facilities. These workers are our friends and neighbors in Wyoming communities around the state.”
Among those to close include rest areas in Lusk on US 18; Guernsey on US 26; Greybull on US 14-16-20; Moorcroft on Interstate 90; Star Valley on US 89; Ft. Steele on Interstate 80; Sundance on Interstate 90; Upton on US 16 and Orin Junction and Chugwater, both located on Interstate 25, per the release.
“We took a hard look at all of our rest areas and came up with a list of those that we feel we can close with a minimal amount of impact to our travelers,” WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner said. “It was a hard decision but one that we came to based on the needs of the public and to ensure we maintain a balanced budget.”
Although these rest areas will close, motorists will still have access to facilities in neighboring communities, Reiner added.
“Each of the rest areas that are closing are within a reasonable distance of a town that has facilities for the public,” he said.