Amidst New Snowfall, Plowing of Big Drift Continues; Weather Permitting, West Side Sun Road May Open for Vehicles to Big Bend on Friday or Saturday
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
UPDATE (as of 4:30pm, June 17): As of late afternoon on Thursday, June 17, park plow operators report an additional six inches of new snow accumulated between Triple Arches and Logan Pass throughout the day. More snow and precipitation is forecast overnight and into Friday. Given weather uncertainties, the earliest the west side Sun Road may open to Big Bend will be mid- to late afternoon on Friday, June 18 or possibly on Saturday, June 19.
Based on safety concerns because road crew personnel will be working in the Logan Pass areas over the weekend, Glacier superintendent Chas Cartwright has directed that no public access will be allowed beyond vehicles barricades until further notice.
Cartwright emphasized, “Weather and road conditions determine when the entire National Historic Landmark Going-to-the-Sun Road actually opens across Logan Pass for vehicle use. We hope to have the entire road open soon, but we cannot predict the actual date at this time.” He added, “Friday, June 18 is the earliest possible date this year that the entire Sun Road could open to through traffic across Logan Pass because of the 2003 Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement compromise that provides contractors access for spring road rehabilitation.”
According to Cartwright, the Logan Pass Visitor Center remains inaccessible due to a substantial snow drift and the parking lot is surrounded by 10-to 20-foot walls of snow. This weekend, NPS personnel will work to dig out the Logan Pass area and continue plowing the 40-50-foot ‘Big Drift’ that occurs every year about a quarter-mile east of Logan Pass. Once plows clear the Big Drift down to the roadway, any ice on the pavement must be allowed to melt out before vehicle access is allowed. Cartwright said, “If the weather improves, and if there are no unanticipated obstacles, we hope to be able to open the entire road in the coming week.”
While weather is slowing attempts to open the alpine portion of the Sun Road, contractors working on the Sun Road rehabilitation project report they have finished all planned spring road work. Contractors completed road stabilization work between Avalanche Campground and the West Tunnel and finalized rehabilitation work between Crystal Point and Haystack. In addition, an asphalt overlay was placed on the stretch of Sun Road between the Apgar Transit Center intersection and Avalanche Campground.