Pickup trucks head west on Highway 59 away from the Powder River Basin energy fields and toward Douglas as evening light takes hold of the Laramie Mountains in late January. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

Pickup trucks head west on Highway 59 away from the Powder River Basin energy fields and toward Douglas as evening light takes hold of the Laramie Mountains on a winter day. 

The highway runs from Douglas to Gillette, and is as accurate a barometer of the hum of Wyoming’s energy industry as any oil price index. Oil and gas traffic ebbs and flows with the industry, while coal miners and energy workers use the road daily — heading to mines from Gillette and Douglas and points in between. Some call the road the “Coal Miner 500” — a crack at the high speeds some miners drive to get home.

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Traffic spiked on the highway in recent years with an increase in pipeline construction and oil and gas activity. Fatalities also increased, according to a March 2019 report in the Douglas Budget.

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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  1. Not sure how you go west on a road that pretty much runs north and south. I thought this article would contain more information than it did.