After a historically rough few weeks on the high points of I-80 across Wyoming, the state's DOT is reminding operators it has resources to help plan out trips and avoid road closures and even getting stranded.
"Recent winter storms have caused multi-day closures of primary trucking routes in the state," WYDOT said, noting it would "like to remind commercial vehicle operators of a service designed to give specialized information they need."
WYDOT's Commercial Vehicle Operator Portal (CVOP) "is a free service provided by WYDOT to commercial vehicle operators traveling the state," which hopes to provide up-to-date travel and road information "tailored to commercial vehicles," WYDOT said. A new tool launched recently for commercial operators also "provides customized road weather forecasts that predict wind, visibility and surface impacts along Wyoming's three interstates (I-25, I-80 and I-90) and other routes most heavily traveled by truck traffic."
An "in-house" meteorologist forecasts conditions up to 72 hours in advance, and the portal updates and sends that information to drivers as often as every three hours.
"We're finding that companies that are participating in this program are using the information we're giving them to enhance their driver safety, and also for planning purposes," Suzie Roseberry, a WYDOT official, said in a video announcing the service.
That planning process became especially important in the last series of storms, as frequent crashes on I-80 just hours after it reopened, not only caused the roads to shut down again, but also put drivers and road crews at risk. When drivers have been caught by surprise by closures and get days behind schedule, the problem only gets worse.
WYDOT hopes that driver feedback and involvement will allow them to develop additional tools for the CVOP. You can sign up for the service here.
[Related: Wyoming I-80: Road crews face nightmare situation]