August 11, 2008
Contact: Glacier National Park
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – The entire Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) is currently open for vehicular traffic through Sunday, Sept. 14. Beginning Monday, Sept. 15, Logan Pass will be open from one side ONLY while road work is alternated between two locations on either side of Logan Pass.
Beginning Monday, September 15, 6AM, Logan Pass will be open from the east side and over to Big Bend just west of the Divide. The following week, starting Monday, Sept. 22, Logan Pass will only be available for vehicle traffic from the west side. The west side access to Logan Pass will continue for the remainder of the season, while work is completed east of Logan Pass. Short traffic delays will continue at the west side work site throughout the fall.
Fall season work on the Sun Road includes paving of two lanes on the west side, between the West Tunnel and Crystal Point, (above the Loop) and completion of November 2006 storm repairs east of Logan Pass. To keep Logan Pass accessible from one side, while accommodating both work locations, the following schedule will be in effect:
Monday, September 15, 6AM
- West side will close to vehicular traffic between Avalanche and Big Bend
- East side traffic will be allowed to travel to Logan Pass and as far as Big Bend where barricades and toilets will be located
Monday, September 22, 6AM
- Entire west side reopens (including Logan Pass) for remainder of fall season until closed to vehicular traffic by snow accumulation and/or hazardous driving conditions
- East side closes to vehicular traffic for remainder of season between Jackson Glacier Overlook and Logan Pass (hikers and bicyclists may travel as far as Siyeh Bend)
“Throughout the multi-year Sun Road project, the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration will remain committed to providing public access while rebuilding this National Historic Landmark.
From mid-June to mid-Sept., "shared use" of the road is the two agencies' priority while keeping traffic delays to a maximum of 30 minutes or less. Outside the core summer season, road work is accelerated. Therefore, starting in mid-September, weather permitting, visitors can reach Logan Pass, but only from one side. "We will provide access to Logan Pass as best as we can, but outside the core summer season, we must allow road work at a faster pace, as weather permits,” said Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright.
In addition to scheduled rehabilitation work between the West Tunnel and Haystack Creek, repairs must be completed east of Logan Pass that remain after the November 2006 "Pineapple Express” tropical storm washed out 110 feet of the Sun Road and caused extensive damage elsewhere.
“Late spring snow not only delayed the opening of the entire Sun Road, but also prevented early season work to complete the 2006 storm repairs in the alpine zone,” Cartwright added, referring to lost time for repairs prior to mid-June.
In October 2007, a temporary bridge was removed from the East Tunnel storm damage site and replaced with a Mechanically Stabilized Earthen (MSE) wall. Remaining storm damage repair work includes construction of two additional MSE walls, rock facing of all three MSE walls, drainage improvements and paving of the entire quarter-mile section damaged by the storm.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road Citizen Advisory Committee and subsequent 2003 Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) both identified mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts from the multi-year rehabilitation. A compromise was reached after public involvement that identified Glacier’s core summer season (mid-June to mid-September) as the period of heaviest visitation when impacts to visitors on the Sun Road should be minimized. The FEIS Record of Decision commits the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration to schedule accelerated road work, before and after the core summer season, when weather permits.
“Various mitigation measures have been implemented to reduce potential impacts on travelers and residents, such as the shuttle system that began in 2007, expanded visitor information services and trip-planning tools,” Cartwright said. “Another Sun Road mitigation project is underway this summer to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic delays at the West Glacier entrance station.”
HK Contractors, Inc., of Idaho Falls, Idaho, the primary contractor for the Sun Road rehabilitation, is constructing a bypass lane at the West Glacier entrance. Improvements include relocating utilities and widening the approach to the entrance station to provide for use by construction vehicles, park landowners, concessioners, employees and other authorized users, thereby streamlining traffic flow entering the park. This work has minimal impact on traffic and is scheduled to be completed by October 1. The cost of this work is estimated at $800,000. Later in the fall, West Entrance improvement work will focus on architectural changes and upgrades to the entrance station building.
For the duration of the 2008 summer and autumn seasons, in addition to west entrance bypass construction, Sun Road travelers should anticipate one-lane directional travel with a maximum delay of 30 minutes for a trip across the road during daylight hours (6 AM to 10 PM).
Expect delays of up to four hours during nighttime construction (Sunday through Thursday, 10 PM to 2 AM, and from 2:30 AM to 6 AM) on the west side between West Tunnel and Birdwoman Falls Overlook (3.5 miles).
Expanded public information services about the Sun Road rehabilitation will continue with the availability of Sun Road project ‘eBlasts.’ These updates are revised as necessary and are posted on Glacier’s web site to provide current information about work locations, delay schedules and other timely information.
To get these updates, go to the park’s website: www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/eblast.htm and click on “Printable poster version of the current eBlast” or click on www.GTSRProject.com.
For current information on the Sun Road, other park roads, weather conditions and visitor services throughout the park, visit Glacier's website www.nps.gov/glac; dial 511 anywhere in Montana (select option 5); or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.