State Route 59, 71 and 72 in Wyoming

By | October 29, 2022


State Route 59 in Wyoming

SH 59
Get started Douglas
End Montana state line
Length 171 mi
Length 276 km





According to foodezine, State Route 59, also known as WYO 59 is a state route in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The road forms a long north-south route through the northeast of the state, from I-25 in Douglas to the Montana state border north of Gillette. WYO 59 is one of the major state highways and is 276 kilometers long.

Travel directions

State Highway 59 at Wright.

WYO 59 begins in the small town of Douglas, located on the North Platte River. The road here connects to Interstate 25 and numerous local state highways and business loops of I-25 and various US Highways. WYO 59 will initially form the Douglas bypass. On the 170 kilometers between Douglas and Gillette, the road leads through desolate steppe, there are only two places on the route, the hamlet of Bill which is little more than a motel with a restaurant on a siding of a coal line, and the somewhat larger village wright. Several large open coal mines are located along WYO 59. The landscape consists of rolling steppe with hardly any vegetation. An important railway line runs parallel to the road.

You then reach the town of Gillette, also the largest town on the route. Industry in Gillette is for the energy companies that extract coal, oil, gas and methane from the ground in the region. A small section in Gillette is a 2×3 lane urban arterial. Gillette also crosses Interstate 90, as well as US 14 and US 16. WYO 59 runs on 2nd Street through downtown Gillette and north of Gillette through a slightly more hilly area. Closer to the city are a few coal mines, further north not anymore. There are no other places on the remaining 90 kilometers to the border with the state of Montana. Then State Route 59 goes into Montanaon to Broadus and Miles City.


The road was numbered from the 1920s as state highway 185, which was clearly an extension of the then US 185 between Cheyenne and Orin. Between 1936 and 1945, the road was numbered state highway 387. Since 1945, the road has been numbered as state highway 59. The road number on the Montana state side has the same number, it is unclear which state first introduced the number ’59’ for this route. The entire route 59 runs from Douglas to Jordan in Montana over 590 kilometers.

Along the way in the spacious Gillette region are some of the largest coal mines in the United States, which extract coal from the Powder River Basin. Most mines only started in the 1970s. The coal from this area could not originally compete well with the coal mines in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States because the energy content per ton was less. However, the coal in this area has a low sulfur content. With increasing environmental legislation in the 1970s, coal mining in the Powder River Basin became more profitable. Parallel to WYO 59 is a busy rail line with long coal trains. The railroad was originally built parallel to WYO 59 between 1972 and 1979 as a single-track connection.

WYO 59 is not used for coal transport, which is done via the very busy parallel railway. But many mining equipment and supply machines are delivered by truck. In addition, oil production in the region is increasing, for which a lot of equipment is delivered by truck, making WYO 59 a relatively unsafe road. As of 2015, a large number of overtaking lanes were therefore constructed on WYO 59. In 2017, overtaking lanes were realized on the southern part between Douglas and Bill.

Traffic intensities

More than 3,000 vehicles drive daily on the Douglas bypass and 2,500 vehicles between Douglas and Wright and 4,300 vehicles between Wright and Gillette. The busiest point is in Gillette at the junction with 31,000 vehicles per day at I-90, which is more than the busiest point on Interstate Highways in Wyoming. North of Gillette, intensities drop from 2,100 to 600 vehicles at the Montana state border.

State Route 71 in Wyoming

SH 71
Get started Teton Reservoir
End Rawlins
Length 11 mi
Length 17 km
county roadRawlins

State Route 71, also known as WYO 71 is a short state route in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The road forms a north-south route from the countryside to Rawlins and is 17 kilometers long.

Travel directions

WYO 71 begins near the Teton Reservoir on a county road. The first few kilometers is a dirt road. The road is then tarred and leads north through a desert valley to the town of Rawlins. WYO 71 terminates at a junction with Interstate 80 in southern Rawlins.


The road has hardly any importance, there are no towns on it, except the terminus Rawlins. It is more of a collection route for unmade county roads from the Sierra Madre Range to Rawlins.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 300 vehicles drive close to Rawlins.

State Route 72 in Wyoming

SH 72
Get started Elk Mountain
End Hanna
Length 15 mi
Length 25 km
Elk Mountain


According to bittranslators, State Route 72, also known as WYO 72 is a state route in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The road forms a north-south route in the south of the state, between Elk Mountain and Hanna. WYO 72 is 25 kilometers long.

Travel directions

WYO 72 begins in the village of Elk Mountain, located at the base of the Snowy Range. The road heads in a northwesterly direction and connects with Interstate 80 well outside the village. The road leads over a plateau with low mountains and usually runs at an altitude of 2,100 to 2,200 meters. Just before Hanna is an intersection with US 30, after which WYO 72 ends in Hanna.


Hanna originated as a stop for coal trains in southern Wyoming. The village grew strongly in the 1970s to more than 2,000 inhabitants but has since lost two thirds of its population. WYO 72 is primarily a connection between I-80 and Hanna from the southeast.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 250 vehicles travel between Elk Mountain and I-80 and 150 vehicles continue as far as Hanna.

State Route 72 in Wyoming