Falling Rocks and Road Closures

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The effort to make Wind River Canyon safer from falling rocks this summer continues to mean traffic delays.

We looked at the work underway and the possibility of more closures this week.

Rock removal crews need to knock down one more section of unstable rock they weren’t able to get to with a two hour road closure.

WYDOT Project Engineer Andy Freeman told News 13, “It’s a large mass and it’s really not stable and it’s also very close to the road so we feel it’s in all our best interests to bring it down while the contractors here.”

Another WYDOT Spokeswoman, Kaia Tharp commented, “They had assessed the rock and thought it would come down easier than it did so we worked at it for 2 hours and right at the end of the closure we got one section of rock to come down, a real small section.”

Scaling crews need at least an hour of traffic free time to accomplish anything which means closures this week if the boulder hasn’t fallen.

“We use airbags, they inflate them and so there’s kind of a limited amount of work we can get done, if they inflate it and the rock moves a little bit then they have to deflate them and set them back in again so that’s why we have multiple closures it’s just going to take some time.”

“The closures will be on the odd hours so one, three and five for one hour and then they’ll open up for an hour and then we’re going to close the road at night from 7pm to 10pm for three hours and then open it up.”

Crews use old tires and railroad ties to protect the road from the rocks when they fall.

“It is up to the contractor to protect the roadway, it’s their risk, they have various methods what they’re going to do here is use some railroad ties and tires, kind of make a blanket and set that down on the shoulder.”

For months WYDOT crews and contractors have been clearing and knocking down rocks in wind river canyon, now freeman says there’s only one big spot left, and when that spot and rock comes down and crews are able to clear it off the road, that should be it for the rest of the summer for rock-related road closures.

Tharp says the entire project costs Wyoming taxpayers 600-thousand dollars and right now, there’s no fear of going over budget.