Stimulus Funds to Provide for Additional Sun Road Work in 2010
November 5, 2009
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – “The Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) Rehabilitation Project is extremely fortunate to benefit from $27.6 million in stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” announced Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright. In addition to the 2010 work already funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) between Big Bend and Logan Pass, ARRA stimulus funds will also provide the Sun Road project with funds (also administered through the FWHA) for a another phase of work to start in summer 2010.
“This is truly a win-win scenario,” said Cartwright.“This short-term infusion of stimulus funding creates additional jobs and an investment in the area economy while allowing us to better plan for the long-term road work schedule. The stimulus funding for the next phase of work on the Sun Road (two-and-a-half miles between Logan Pass and Siyeh Bend) places additional challenges on project managers to ensure that this ‘shovel-ready’ work is completed in a timely manner while allowing summer visitors to travel the entire Sun Road and enjoy this National Historic Landmark.”
In anticipation of having two separate Sun Road Rehabilitation Project phases of work occurring simultaneously in 2010 and beyond, park officials today announced decisions to adjust nighttime work hours as well as daytime delays. The schedule adjustments, which will go into effect in summer 2010, will minimize impacts on the largest number of park visitors, while maximizing the amount of work being accomplished each season.
Based on consultations with park visitors, stakeholders, and area businesses and civic leaders, park managers believe these minor schedule changes will meet the intent of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), by accommodating visitor access while allowing this expanded work to progress in a cost effective manner.
Daytime Work Schedule:
After numerous meetings with park stakeholders and the public over the last six months, Cartwright announced that park visitors can expect an increase in overall potential delays from the current 30 minutes to a total of 40 minutes for a one-way trip across the entire Sun Road.
Nighttime Work Schedule:
Cartwright noted that night work will be allowed during 2010 from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the west side of the Continental Divide. No passage will be allowed through the construction zone during the entire 10-hour work shift. The road on the east side of the Divide will have the same nighttime restrictions, but there will be one short, 15-minute window for passage through the construction zone at 2 a.m.
Springtime Projected Vehicle Traffic Openings: Projected Vehicle Traffic Openings:
The earliest mid-June dates that the entire Sun Road may open to through vehicle traffic across Logan Pass will be targeted for the Friday before the third weekend in June. Jim Foster, the park’s Chief of Facility Management, stated “These June dates reflect the earliest possible date the entire Sun Road could open to vehicle traffic across Logan Pass. These projected dates are not hard opening dates since many factors outside of the NPS' control affect spring opening such as late spring weather conditions, plowing, avalanche danger, poor visibility, equipment breakdowns and/or unforeseen road damage.”
Fall Vehicle Traffic Restrictions:
Mid-September vehicle traffic restrictions across Logan Pass, which allow for accelerated road reconstruction during the shoulder season, are planned for the Monday following the third full weekend in September. These dates reflect a hard restriction to vehicle access from either Avalanche on the west side, or Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side, depending on where the work is taking place that year. Access to Logan pass after the September restriction will be from either the east or west side, but not both sides. For instance, this fall the vehicle restriction was at Avalanche; vehicle access was provided to Logan Pass the east side of the park until Monday, October 19. Fall visitors may still drive to Jackson Glacier Overlook and Avalanche as long as weather and road conditions permit.
Foster added, “Regardless of Sun Road rehabilitation work, weather permitting, Logan Pass remains accessible each year from at least one side until the Monday following the third full weekend of October. Should snow storms and/or hazardous driving conditions prompt temporary restrictions prior to the projected October date; every effort is made to reopen to Logan Pass as conditions permit.”
For additional information about the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Project go to: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/eblast.htm. To access the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) go to: http://www.nps.gov/glac/parkmgmt/planning.htm. For current parkwide road conditions, visit: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.
- NPS -
Editor’s Note: A 5-Year Sun Road schedule is available for projected spring openings and fall restrictions for vehicle traffic across Logan Pass at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/eblast.htm. Springtime dates for two-way vehicle access across the entire Sun Road are projections and subject to change based on spring snow pack, weather conditions and other variables. Projected fall dates are set dates unless snow and/or hazardous driving conditions prompt earlier temporary closures.