JACKSON (WNE) — Pending internal approvals, the Wyoming Department of Transportation is set to reduce the speed limit on Teton Pass from 55 to 45 mph.
The proposed change is the result of a speed study that the Teton County Board of County Commissioners and Teton Backcountry Alliance requested from WYDOT in July 2020.
The impetus was concern about safety at the top of the pass where recreationists and motorists intersect, particularly in the winter when people park up high to ski.
WYDOT District Traffic Engineer Darin Kaufman said the speed study showed that people typically drive the upper elevations of the pass at lower speeds, and the department generally starts to set speed limits within 5 mph of how quickly 85% of people drive along a given byway.
But it also takes other factors into consideration. Kaufman said both applied on Teton Pass.
“People were driving that speed already, and also it’s a different environment,” he said. “The grade and the curves, they kind of control what’s going on regardless of anything else.”
On Teton Pass people were generally driving slower than the posted 55 mph speed limit at the top of the pass, the study showed.
The fastest that 85% of drivers rounded the summit was 49 mph in the summer and 42 mph in the winter.
That and road conditions like the grade and curvature on Teton Pass gave WYDOT the data needed to lower the speed.