Drivers who plan on taking U.S.20/Wyoming 789 through the Wind River Canyon should take note of a two-hour closure slated for Tuesday morning.

Beginning at 10 a.m. -- weather permitting -- crews will drop a large rock and other debris on and near the highway, according to a news release from the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

"We're anticipating that when the big rock comes down, it will bring down a lot of rock with it and rocks will land in the northbound travel lane of U.S. 20/Wyoming 789," Kaia Tharp, WYDOT resident engineer in Thermopolis, said in the release.

"This two-hour closure of the highway will allow the contractor time to safely bring down the big rock and clean up the rock and other debris that falls on the highway," Tharp added.

The big rock is near milepost 117, about halfway between Shoshoni and Thermopolis. The highway will be closed from the south side of the Wind River Canyon tunnels to north of the work zone.

Digital messaging signs will warn people of the closure on either end of the canyon.

Cowley-based Wilson Brothers Construction is the prime contractor on the clean-up effort, which is focused on the debris left by rockfall and mudslides in April and May. The work is funded to the tune of over $600,000.

Pete Hallsten, district engineer for WYDOT, expects contract rock removal to be finished by July 4.

"Work will be shut down in Wind River Canyon between July 1-4, and only a few more days of work are expected after the holiday," Hallsten said.

In June, delays of up to 25 minutes have been in effect as the work continues.

"We appreciate everyone's patience with this rockfall work," Tharp said, "which is intended to improve highway safety through Wind River Canyon, and to help WYDOT meet its mission of providing a safe, high quality and efficient transportation system for the citizens and travelers of Wyoming."

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