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Making the best of a 3-hour drive to Jackson

It is taking some people 3-hours to drive to work from the Teton Valley because of the extra traffic on the highway between Swan Valley and Jackson.

Dr. Morgan Poisson of Teton Equine in Idaho Falls is one of those making the drive on Tuesday.

“We're just going to check them out, make sure he's nice and healthy and make sure he got antibodies for mom. and make sure he's good to go,” Poisson said as he was checking on a customer’s horse.  

Unlike other commuters, the veterinarian only needs to drive to Jackson Hole once or twice a week.

But the trip still poses a challenge.

“Thankfully, it's a pretty drive and I just moved here,” Poisson said. “So, I get to still enjoy the views and don't get sick of that yet.”

“So, it does add an extra hour on to our day and our, you know, our Jackson days since we are coming all the way from Idaho Falls, our long days to begin with. So, we easily work over 12 hours when we come over to Jackson. And, now we're working at least an hour extra, just with the added commute time,” Poisson said.

Another concern is tourism. Teton County, Wyoming generated a third of the state’s travel and tourism tax revenue in 2022.

Despite the closure, downtown Jackson was full of tourists Tuesday.

A group of ladies from the Netherlands said they still felt like the trip was worth the drive.

“I was in the backseat, and I almost fell asleep. You know, because in the car you can fall asleep. But, I didn't want to because everything was so beautiful. And you keep looking around and watching all the beautiful landscapes change from rocks into the beautiful country with the wilderness that is here,” the tourists said.  

While the Wyoming Department of Transportation is working on a short-term solution to the closure it's still unclear how many cars will be allowed on the temporary two lane road.

Dr. Poission, like many travelers, tries to stay positive despite the frustrating circumstances.

“If it means driving a little bit more and being a little more frustrated in the car, so that we can help out, the horses as much as possible, that, is the end goal.” Poisson said.

According to the state of Wyoming, Jackson relies on at least 2,500 workers who live on the other side of the pass in Idaho.

The Teton County School District has said they will allow teachers to camp out in the school parking if things don’t improve by this August.

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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