(Photo By Adam Porter)

A few days ago I was headed to Denver and noticed that WYDOT had just finished putting up some brand new dynamic speed limit signs between Laramie & Cheyenne on I-80; you might recognize these from the ones installed between Laramie & Rawlins two years ago. Honestly my first thought was “Oh no are they going to lower the speed to the seasonal 65 MPH like they have done in the past over Elk Mountain?” Thankfully the answer to that question is good news. Dave Kingham from WYDOT says that the seasonal speed limit of 65 during winter months will not be used on this section of I-80 much to my pleasure. He also mentioned that WYDOT will not use the seasonal speed limit on the Elk Mountain stretch of I-80 this winter either, saying that “all speed limits will be directly controlled by road conditions.” Snow plow drivers and the Wyoming Highway Patrol will actively communicate appropriate speeds to WYDOT when road conditions are not optimal.

WYDOT’s main goal with the new dynamic speed limit signs is to reduce crashes and road closures; to put things into perspective the signs decreased crashes by 50% and closures by 30% after they were installed on the Elk Mountain stretch of I-80. With this kind of result you really can’t argue with continuing the practice even at an initial cost of 1.3 million dollars for the Laramie to Cheyenne stretch for the new signs. Dave mentioned that the I-80 stretch East of Evanston is also having dynamic speed limit signs installed before winter. Next on the list to receive the signs is Highway 287 south of Laramie, which everyone knows is a dangerous section of road. The contract for the 287 project has not yet been rewarded so initial installation will take place some time in the future to be determined.

Last winter the stretch of I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne saw 205 crashes resulting in 2 fatalities (Full Crash Statistics Below). WYDOT is betting that these new signs will significantly reduce the number of crashes and closures just as it has done on other roads in the state. As a result, the Highway Patrol should be able to better handle the accidents that do occur and free up their time for other purposes. The signs are currently undergoing a 30 day test and will be active in early October. As winter draws near don’t forget to check out our road conditions page for the latest road report.

I – 80 BOTH DIRECTIONS FOR M.P 316.70 (GRAND AVE INTERCHANGE) TO 357.65 (ROUNDTOP INTERCHANGE) FOR THE YEARS 2006 – 2011

YEAR # INJURED # KILLED # PDO CRASHES # INJURY CRASH # FATAL CRASHES TOTAL CRASHES
2006 285 4 182 99 4 285
2007 145 1 230 83 1 314
2008 87 3 207 54 3 264
2009 85 3 162 48 3 213
2010 99 2 205 62 2 269
2011* 54 3 146 34 3 183
TOTAL 755 16 1,132 380 16 1,528

ALL CRASHES MET THE REPORTABLE THRESHOLD OF $1,000 DAMAGE/INJURY.

PDO = PROPERTY DAMAGE ONLY, NO INJURY OR DEATH. 

FACTORS SUCH AS CHANGES IN TRAFFIC COUNTS, WEATHER AND CONSTRUCTION CAN AFFECT THESE CRASH NUMBERS.

2011 CRASH NUMBERS ARE ONLY A PARTIAL YEAR FROM 1/1/2011 TO APPROXIMATELY 8/25/2011.Information Courtesy of WYDOT