Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Progresses
Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. - Rehabilitation work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park continues this summer with construction occurring between Avalanche Creek and Logan Creek (3.5miles), and Haystack Creek to Big Bend (2 miles). To date, over nine miles of the road, including sections between Logan Creek to the West Tunnel and Siyeh Bend to Big Bend, were completed in 2011. By the end of the 2012 season, it is anticipated that the alpine section of the road will be completely rehabilitated, and the section between Avalanche Creek and Logan Creek should be completed by the end of the 2013 season.
The alpine rehabilitation includes new pavement from Logan Creek on the west side to Siyeh Bend on the east side. The project includes almost 12,000 feet of new masonry guard wall, as well as retaining wall and slope stabilization features. Gutters and culverts, improving drainage, are being installed and much subgrade stabilization is being completed. A total of almost 6,000 feet of new timber guard rail, fixed and removable, will be installed. The rails are designed to withstand vehicle impacts, and are strategically located based on safety and avalanche hazards. Almost 30% of the project cost and time to date has involved stone masonry work. The stone masonry materials were salvaged from demolition of existing structures and along the road, while minor amounts were selectively obtained outside the park. Maintaining the historic character of the road is a priority of the rehabilitation project. Weather conditions and weather-related repairs, including a short season to conduct the work, have been challenging aspects of the project.
Visitors traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road can expect 30 minute maximum traffic delays on the west side of the park this summer and no delay on the east side. Night closures on the road due to construction are not expected, but advance notification will be provided in the unlikely event they occur. Construction zones will look similar to what visitors have seen over the last several years: one way travel with flaggers or pilot cars guiding vehicles through active work zones. During non-work periods, weekends and after work hours, traffic lights will guide traffic through construction sites.
Logan Pass will be accessible through Sunday, October 21 from the east side, and to allow for accelerated rehabilitation work this fall, the last day to access Logan Pass from the west side will be Sunday, September 16. This year is anticipated to be the last west-side early fall closure due to road rehabilitation work, and then the work will shift to the east side of the road below Siyeh Bend. Early fall closures are anticipated through 2015 on the east side.
To date, approximately $130 million has been directed to Going-to-the-Sun Road project, including engineering, design, and construction management, under the Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Approximately $40 million is still needed to finish the non-alpine sections of the road.
As an option for visitors traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road during rehabilitation, the park established a shuttle system in 2007. The shuttle system provides two-way service between the Apgar Transit Center and St. Mary Visitor Center. The shuttle system is funded using a portion of park entrance fee revenue, with no additional cost to riders. It is an optional system departing approximately every 30 minutes on the west side and every 40-60 minutes on the east side of the park. The shuttle system is operated through a cooperative agreement with Flathead County Eagle Transit System. This year the shuttle service starts July 1 and runs through September 3. Pets are not allowed on the shuttles, other than service animals.
The Apgar Transit Center is the shuttle hub on the west side of the park. The first two shuttles of the day are express trips straight to Logan Pass, without intermediate stops, departing at 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Regular shuttle service for all stops on the west side of the park departs the Transit Center at 8:00 a.m. The St. Mary Visitor Center is the transit hub for the east side. East side shuttles begin service at the visitor center starting at 7:30 a.m. Visitors will need to transfer one, or two, times to travel from one end of the route to the other. The last shuttles leave Logan Pass at 7:00 p.m.
For more information about the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the rehabilitation project, or the shuttle system, visit the park's website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm. Visitors are also encouraged to visit the Western Federal Lands Highway website at http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/mt/gtsr/ for information and photos about the rehabilitation of the road.
Did You Know?
Did you know that 2003 was one of the hottest recorded years in Glacier National Park's history? That year, approximately 144,000 acres burned from multiple wildfires.