New Visitor Center Parking Expected to Open in Time for Thanksgiving
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Construction on Phase I of the improvements called for in Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan (Transportation Plan) is nearing completion; and the new parking areas at Grand Canyon Visitor Center (Visitor Center) are expected to open in time for Thanksgiving.
In late April 2009, construction began on Phase I of the improvements outlined in the Transportation Plan. The Phase I improvements primarily address concerns with traffic congestion and significant parking shortages in and around Mather Point and the Visitor Center. These improvements include:
On September 11, the transition to the new South Entrance Road alignment was completed; and the new commercial tour vehicle parking lot at the Visitor Center was opened. Currently, paving, striping and signing of the three new visitor parking lots is underway. The National Park Service (NPS) expects to open these 600 new parking spaces in time for Thanksgiving. Revegetation, irrigation, fencing and miscellaneous clean-up work will continue into early December and will conclude the Phase I improvements.
Planning for Phase II of the improvements is already well underway; and the solicitation for the project was advertised on November 10, 2009. Phase II construction is expected to include:
(A pre-proposal meeting for interested Phase II bidders will be held on November 18, 2009. To view the solicitation advertisement, go to www.fbo.gov, use reference #DTFH68-10-R-00001.)
Completion of the Phase II improvements is currently planned for October of 2010. Once the Phase II improvements are completed, the NPS will use an adaptive management program to closely monitor and evaluate vehicular traffic, parking use and shuttle bus ridership to determine if and when any future improvements as outlined in the park’s Transportation Plan might be implemented.
The South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan, developed by the NPS in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, addresses the most pressing traffic, parking and visitor access issues in Grand Canyon Village. The plan addresses the need to improve visitor transportation facilities and services, such as parking and shuttle service; to make the most effective use of existing visitor facilities and services; and to reduce safety risks due to conflicts between pedestrians, parked vehicles and moving traffic near Mather Point and elsewhere in Grand Canyon Village.
Funding for Phase I and Phase II improvements is being made available through entrance fees collected under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
Up-to-date information on this project is available on the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/cvip09.htm. For additional information, you may call Vicky Stinson, Project Manager at 928-774-3026 or Shannan Marcak, Public Affairs Specialist at 928-638-7958.
To download a copy of this news release in .pdf format, CLICK HERE.
Did You Know?
The more recent Kaibab limestone caprock, on the rims of the Grand Canyon, formed 270 million years ago. In contrast, the oldest rocks within the Inner Gorge at the bottom of Grand Canyon date to 1.84 billion years ago. Geologists currently estimate the age of Earth at 4.5 billion years.