- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2020

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Transportation plans to close 10 highway rest areas to save money amid a budget crisis.

The closures starting June 15 will save about $800,000 a year, department officials said Friday.

The department is closing rest areas near Lusk on U.S. Highway 18; Guernsey on U.S. 26; Greybull on U.S. 14-16-20; Moorcroft on Interstate 90; Star Valley on U.S. 89; Ft. Steele on I-80; Sundance on I-90; Upton on U.S. 16; and Orin Junction and Chugwater, both on I-25.

The Wyoming Transportation Commission approved the closures in a special budget-related meeting May 27.

“Although these rest areas will close, motorists will still have access to facilities in neighboring communities,” Department Director Luke Reiner said in a statement. “Each of the rest areas that are closing are within a reasonable distance of a town that has facilities for the public.”

Wyoming faces a two-year budget deficit of $1 billion or more because of the coronavirus and less revenue from its fossil-fuel extraction industry.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday he wants state agencies to identify programs to cut and prepare for 20% spending cuts in the months ahead.

“This is a painful reality but a necessary step given our state’s fiscal situation,” Gordon said of the rest area closures.

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