What are all those lanes for?


U.S. Highway 85, statistically one of the deadly highways in the United States, runs nearly 2,000 miles.

85, sometimes referred to as the CanAm Highway, is an original 1926 route. Much of the route has stayed the same over the years. The highway is through rolling rangeland in Goshen County. 

Throughout the years, passing lanes have been added in the section of highway 85 which stretches from Cheyenne to LaGrange to adapt to the influx of traffic. The passing lanes have made it much safer for folks to pass on the highway. They make it easier for drivers to see around curves and hills, but they stop once drivers hit Goshen County leaving the influx of traffic to fall back into their old habits; passing whenever they feel fit. Unfortunately, it’s not always the safest timing to pass. 

Adding in additional passing lanes from Yoder to Torrington could prevent accidents from happening. With the increasing number of travelers commuting from Torrington to Yoder, it is a matter of time before another accident claims the life of one or more of our locals. 

The lack of passing lanes isn’t the only issue with this portion of highway 85. 

The intersection of U.S. Highway 85 and Wyoming Highway 152/161 is scary and should be treated as such.

The intersection allows motorists to turn west toward Yoder or east toward Huntley from the north and south bound highway 85. 

Many students from Southeast utilize the intersection, daily, and the number of accidents which occur in the vicinity is alarmingly increasing. This portion of highway often leaves the random tourist confused because it contains four lanes, which are not labeled. 

You see, on each side of the highway, directly before the intersection and after, there are two additional lanes stretching along 85. There are no signs dictating the usage of the lanes. All four extra lanes are clearly marked with a no-passing straight-line indicator. 

The lanes are for east and west travelers as they pull out on to the north and south bound highway 85 or motorists which are traveling north/south wishing to turn east or west.

South bound traffic utilizes the additional lane on the west side of highway 85 to turn west and north bound traffic uses their lane for turning east, well, those of us local drivers who recognize a turn lane. The two additional lanes on either side of highway 85 are for east and west bound traffic to safely merge on to highway 85 from the intersection. 

But many out of state drivers use the additional lanes to attempt to pass vehicles who have slowed in the north and south lanes. 

A few days ago, while stopped at the intersection running east and west, I witnessed a school bus traveling from the south. The bus had its blinker on and was beginning to slow down to make the left hand turn across highway 85 when the cargo delivery van following, continued at, with what appeared to be a higher than legal rate of speed. Before the bus had an opportunity to safely turn east on highway 152, the van drifted into the merging lane to pass the school bus. 

These lanes are not for passing but there is no indicator posted anywhere for random drivers. Without clear, appropriate markings, travelers risk accidents which could be costly. 

Surely, a few signs would be a better choice of funding.