Estimated duration: 2-3 minutes
Evanston, Wyoming — Evanston, Wyoming is the off-season, and hotels and restaurants aren’t as busy as summer.
David Rohde, General Manager of the Best Western Dunmar Inn, said:
But just like Wednesday night, when winter hits, everything changes.
“We’re talking about a 300% seasonal average increase,” Rohde said.
When Interstate 80 closes in Evanston due to unsafe travel conditions, all traffic coming from Utah and west must stop in Evanston because the gate is on the east side of town .
This is talking about a 300% increase in seasonal average.
–David Rohde, Best Western Dunmar Inn
The shutdown, which lasted for several hours through the night and into Thursday morning, flooded restaurants and hotels.
“There are 18-wheelers parked along the road and you think, ‘I wish I hadn’t parked in front of the hotel entrance,'” Rohde said.
But Evanston Mayor Kent Williams only worries about traffic.
“It’s getting much harder to get emergency vehicles, ambulances, or police and fire engines to help those in need,” he said.
Williams said all the traffic raises serious public health concerns. Emergency vehicles may not be able to reach their destinations quickly due to road congestion caused by the closure of Interstate 80.
“Honestly, it’s kind of scary when it happens, and we have no way of knowing when it’s going to happen,” Williams said.
There were no major issues with the Interstate 80 closure Thursday morning, but Williams knows it can always happen.
Of course, there’s also the business side, Rohde says, helping some hotels and restaurants survive the late winter.
“Without highway closures, we wouldn’t have been able to make it.