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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406-888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406-888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Accelerated construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) starts at midnight September 20, 2009, Glacier National Park officials today announced. According to Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright, “This fall, west side access will be limited between Avalanche and Logan Pass; however, Logan Pass will continue to be accessible by vehicle from the east side, weather permitting, until Logan Pass is closed for the season on Monday, October 19.” Cartwright stressed that throughout the ongoing Sun Road rehabilitation, park visitors will continue to have access to Logan Pass during the fall season from one side until the third Monday in October, weather permitting.
This fall, five separate west side Sun Road projects will be underway at various times. These projects include: 1) final paving above the Loop between Crystal Point and Haystack Creek, 2) rehabilitation of the three-miles from Big Bend to Logan Pass, 3) repair of November 2006 storm damage above Logan Creek, 4) structural improvements to the road sub grade near Upper McDonald Creek, and 5) transit improvements at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.
Monday, September 21, 2009
* West side will remain open for vehicle traffic 16 miles between West Glacier and Avalanche. Avalanche to Logan Pass will be closed to vehicular traffic.
* West side barricades and restrooms will be located at Avalanche.
* Hiker and bicycle access will be allowed beyond the Avalanche barricade until work begins on the November 2006 flood-damaged section above Logan Creek, date to be determined. After this work begins, hiker and bicycle travel will be allowed past Avalanche for at least two and half miles. As work conditions permit, weekend access will be allowed for hikers and bicyclists.
* East side remains open to vehicle traffic (including Logan Pass) for the remainder of the fall season (until Monday, October 19) unless closed to vehicle traffic by snow accumulation and/or hazardous driving conditions.
* Expect night delays of up to an hour above Rising Sun between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. as crews scale rock overhangs.
Monday, October 19, 2009
* East side (Jackson Glacier Overlook to Logan Pass) will close to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the season.
* East side (St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook) will remain open until closed to vehicular traffic by snow accumulation and/or hazardous driving conditions.
In addition to Sun Road work this fall, visitors to Logan Pass will need to use caution as various improvements begin in mid-September. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic in and out of the parking lot may be temporarily re-routed as work begins on new restrooms and a new shuttle stop location. Visitors need to use caution when they are near any of these construction zones.
Glacier National Park remains open even though through traffic across Logan Pass will end for the season on September 20th. “Beginning September 21, fall visitors to Glacier National Park will be able to drive 16 miles on the Sun Road from West Glacier to Avalanche and 18 miles from St. Mary to Logan Pass for a total of 32 miles. Much of the Sun Road will remain open until the third Monday in October (October 19) despite the west side fall road work, weather permitting,” remarked Cartwright. Park and Federal Highway Administration managers are very aware of the inconvenience to shoulder season travelers; however, the fall season is the primary opportunity for Sun Road contractors to make progress on the rehabilitation.
Autumn visitors to Glacier are rewarded with lack of crowds, cooler temperatures, and changing vegetation colors. Area residents and visitors are also reminded that Glacier National Park is open year-round and park recreational opportunities exist during all seasons. Visitors can travel between east and west side destinations in Glacier National Park by driving U.S. Highways 2 and 89 along the southern and eastern borders of the park, respectively. These scenic highways are both maintained and open year round.
Cartwright added a reminder that the 2003 NPS and Federal Highway Administration’s Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) identified various mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts from the multi-year Sun Road rehabilitation. These alternatives and recommendations stemmed from recommendations made by the Congressionally-authorized Going-to-the-Sun Road Citizens Advisory Committee that reviewed engineering, socioeconomic impacts, transportation, and visitor use patterns. The agencies’ preferred alternative allows “shared use” of the Sun Road during Glacier’s core season, mid-June to mid-September, as the period of heaviest park visitation when impacts to travelers on the Sun Road shall be minimized. As a result of substantial public involvement, the resulting compromise in the Final EIS identified an NPS preferred alternative that called for short delays and two-way “shared use” of the Sun Road from mid-June to mid-September, weather permitting. This compromise allows for accelerated work on sections of the road, before and after the core season as weather permits.
“Many visitors equate Glacier National Park with the Going-to-the-Sun Road, yet there is so much more to see and do in Glacier than just traveling the road. In addition to exploring the areas near Lake McDonald and St. Mary, consider adding a visit to Many Glacier, Two Medicine, the North Fork, or Goat Haunt where people can experience spectacular vistas, solitude, and wildlife sightings, too,” Cartwright added. With 730 miles of maintained trails, visitors will find numerous trails outside the alpine section of the Sun Road. For trail maps and status, visit the park’s Hiking the Trails Web page at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm. Autumn hikers are strongly urged to make sure they are familiar with safety precautions while traveling in bear country. Bear safety recommendations and other park safety information can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm.
Many park facilities and services remain available well beyond September 20. For details, go to http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/news09-60.htm. Privately-owned lodging and other visitor services are available in the park at Apgar Village and in gateway communities throughout the fall, winter and spring.
Current road status is available at: http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm. Road conditions for Glacier National Park are available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If a phone does not support 511, call 800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select “Glacier Park Tourist Information” (option # 5) from the menu. For other park information, visit Glacier’s Web site at www.nps.gov/glac or call 406-888-7800.
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