How I-80 Wyoming Got Its Clever Name
April 14th, 2021, Wyoming's I-80 is closed- again, in springtime... for winter weather. It is possible that it will remain closed for a few days as the spring/winter weather continues.
You can read here a recent article about the many warnings given about the placement of I-80 through Wyoming. It was such a bad idea. What idiot or idiots were responsible?
THEN IT STRUCK ME! I know how I-80 got its name. It's actually really clever.
You might be thinking: Major Interstate routes are designated by one or two digit numbers. Routes with odd numbers run north and south, while even numbered run east and west. For north-south routes, the lowest numbers begin in the west, while the lowest numbered east-west routes are in the south.
YEAH, SURE, ALL TRUE! But not so with I-80 through Wyoming.
The Wyoming stretch of I-80 stands for "In Use- 80 days/year". That is to say the number of days out of the year that I-80 is OPEN is 80.
THAT IS SO CLEVER! Pure genius. Who knew?
A book was written a few years back named Snow Chi Minh Trail which tells the tale of what a mistake the location of I-80 has been. The author writes about the infamous interstate’s reputation and how Wyoming locals wanted the interstate to follow existing U.S. Highway 30.
Wyomingites knew the weather of the region. The wind that blows and is squeezed through and between the Laramie and Walcott Junction is compressed, making it worse. I mean the more than 100 mile per hour gusts kind of worse. But locals were not listened to.
“The air moves from West to East — the path of least resistance,” said the author in his book. “It moves fast. The winds clocked over 100 mph. Eighty to 100 mph is not uncommon in that area.”