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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – The new Division Engineer for the Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Clara Connor, visited Glacier National Park last week to meet Park Superintendent Mick Holm and other project managers to finalize plans for remaining stabilization and repairs to last fall’s storm damage on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Connor and Holm discussed areas of mutual interest such as streamlining decision-making and communications between the two partner agencies after which, Connor toured the construction site for the new Apgar Transit Center scheduled to open July 1, 2007.
A key component of the storm stabilization will be the spring 2007 installation of a temporary two-lane bridge that will allow traffic across the two-lane washout near the east tunnel while road repairs are simultaneously underway. The new temporary bridge, manufactured by Mabey & Johnson will be delivered from Vancouver, WA, to the park’s east side this week. Holm said, "The remaining east side Sun Road storm damage stabilization will begin in May, weather permitting. As materials and supplies arrive this week, they will be stockpiled at Rising Sun until spring plowing begins in early April and materials can be moved up the road to work sites.
Holm said rehabilitation of the historic Going-to-the-Sun (Sun) Road is slated to kick into gear in 2007 with comprehensive rehabilitation on the 3.5-mile alpine section between the west tunnel and Haystack Creek. "Our plan is for the 2007 Sun Road rehabilitation work to begin after we restore visitor access to the road. We are poised to have rehabilitation work commence this summer, but we must first get road damage stabilized from the "Pineapple Express" tropical storm system that hit the Pacific and Inland Northwest last November."
That storm brought torrential rain, flooding and subsequent damage to park roads and trails along the Continental Divide, including portions of the Sun Road. Most of the lower elevation Sun Road storm repairs are completed, but east of Logan Pass parts of both lanes were lost at six locations during the November 2006 storm. According to Holm, "The east side stabilization necessary to get the Sun Road open for summer visitors is the park’s top priority." He added, "Park and FHWA managers intend to have the remaining Sun Road damage stabilized or repaired sufficiently for summer 2007 so that the road is open for public use with minimal impacts to the core summer season (mid-June to mid-September)."
Updates will be provided as information becomes available.