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Driver safety encouraged as sugarbeet harvestbegins

Oct 7, 2016 - From staff reports

Slow-moving trucks entering the highway from agricultural fields will be the norm in the coming months as the sugar campaign begins in Fremont County and the Big Horn Basin.

Local farmers are expected to begin digging beets soon; in other areas, such as near Lovell and Powell, the sugar campaign has started.

The sugar campaign can last five months, and its success depends on weather and other factors.

During the farmers' sugar campaign, drivers are encouraged to pay attention to heavier truck traffic on highways throughout northwest Wyoming.

"It's important to be cautious of heavy trucks turning on and off highways," said Randy Merritt, Wyoming Department of Transportation district traffic engineer in Basin.

"Trucks hauling heavy loads cannot slow or stop quickly. Be patient with accelerating trucks as it takes more time for trucks to accelerate to the posted speed limit."

Merritt said drivers should exercise caution where heavy trucks are slowing to turn on and off the highways.

"With the rains we've been receiving, there will likely be some mud on the highway where these turning movements are taking place," Merritt said. "We need the help of everyone, including farmers, to minimize the amount of mud tracked on to the highways. Our No. 1 priority is to keep everyone safe on our highways."

If muddy conditions persist on highways, citizens are asked to please call WYDOT offices so snow plows may be dispatched to remove mud from the highway.

The sugarbeetcrop represents an important source of income for many farmers in Fremont County and the Big Horn Basin.

Most of the trucks hauling the beets are coming from local farm fields near our local communities.

"Everybeetharvested is hauled by truck on highways to a sugar factory, either in Lovell or Worland.

"Give these farmers a brake when you see them. Farmers are making positive contributions to the local economies in the counties where they live," Merritt said.

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