Following winter weather, including heavy snow over Thanksgiving weekend, U.S. Highway 14A is set to close for the season between Lovell and Burgess Junction.

The closure, which was slated to become official at 12 p.m. Monday, is about a week earlier than normal, according to a statement from WYDOT. The seasonal closure typically goes into effect Dec. 1.

"It's winter on the Bighorn Mountains," Jason Fleming, WYDOT maintenance foreman in Lovell, said in the department's news release. "Heavy snow, winter weather and slick roads present safety concerns for snow plow drivers and travelers on this high-mountain highway."

A small number of elk hunters were still using the highway as of Monday. The elk season closes Friday. Meanwhile, the highway closure will limit hunters' ability to use vehicles in order to access the mountain.

"Between the whiteouts and drifting and icy roads, closing the highway today is the right decision," Fleming added.

West of Burgess Junction, the annual closure is in effect at milepost 76.04 on the Lovell side of the Bighorn Mountains. The closure at Burgess Junction is just east of milepost 98.1.

The 22-mile stretch of highway typically closes at the conclusion of the fall hunting season and usually reopens by Memorial Day weekend.