Road closures have brought southeast Wyoming to a sudden halt several times over the past few months, as they do each winter. But drivers can avoid despair by taking advantage of a Wyoming Department of Transportation program that allows some travelers to continue beyond closure gates in certain situations.

The WYDOT Authorized Travel (WAT) program is structured under the state road closure law and allows exceptions to road closures in certain circumstances.

"It's to help facilitate people just go about their daily lives," says Ali Regan, a WYDOT program manager. "If you just want to travel to Cheyenne maybe to go to a movie, that's not really a valid reason. That's not what the program is for."

The program does not give permission to any driver to travel during every road closure, but it does allow authorized drivers to travel on approved segments of closed roads.

Drivers can apply for seasonal authorization at the WAT website. Applications must be updated each year to ensure information remains current, and authorization to travel during an event may not be shared with others. Subscriptions to the program are effective Aug. 1-July 31 each year.

Authorization is given on an event-by-event basis through either email alerts or the WAT Dial-In System, which is new for the 2015-2016 travel season according to WYDOT. Using the new system, those without cell coverage or internet access can participate in the program.

According to WYDOT, drivers must carry proof of authorization in the form of a printed email message or an authorization code from the new WAT Dial-In System.

The program was enacted in the winter of 2010-2011.


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