High Water Continues to Affect Park

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Date: June 19, 2017
Contact: Denise Germann, 307.739.3393

MOOSE, WY —The Gros Ventre  and the Moose-Wilson Roads have been affected by the recent precipitation, as well as continued snowmelt due to warmer temperatures. Park crews were able to complete minor repairs to a culvert on the Moose-Wilson Road today and the road is open. Plans continue for implementation of an alternating one-lane of traffic on the Gros Ventre Road as conditions allow.  
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “Public and employee safety is our ongoing priority in light of the impacts from high water across the park. The historic high snow pack is continuing to melt and our intent is to respond to the impacts as safely and quickly as we can, while being thoughtful about our actions.”
On Sunday evening park rangers observed some damage to the structure around two side-by-side culverts on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road located approximately one mile south of the entrance to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. A significant amount of water and turbulence was eroding the material between the culverts and threatening the roadway. The area of damage on the narrow two-lane road was identified with barrier cones and logs Sunday evening.  This morning park crews were able to access and remedy the situation.  
Early this morning as park crews were monitoring the Gros Ventre Road, a section of asphalt was found to be eroded in the area of the river erosion that has closed the road since June 6. In consultation with geotechnical engineers and other subject-matter experts, it is anticipated that an alternating one-lane of traffic in the affected area can be safely and efficiently managed in the near future. It would include an automated traffic signal which will alternate east-bound and west-bound one-way traffic. Implementation would be by the end of June, but may be later if conditions change. 
The park will host a public open house to share information about the Gros Ventre Road and planned actions and strategies to provide one-lane of traffic, as well as subsequent stabilization efforts and long-term repairs on the river bank.    The public is invited to join National Park Service employees on Tuesday, June 20, anytime between 5-6:30 p.m. at the Kelly School in Kelly, Wyoming. 
Water levels are anticipated to remain high and for flows to increase this week with warmer temperatures forecasted. Superintendent Vela said, “The Gros Ventre Road is a vital transportation route and the Moose-Wilson Corridor is a destination experience, and we understand the value that both roads offer, but safety will not be compromised.”  
The Gros Ventre/Kelly Road is located along and near the Gros Ventre River near the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park. Approximately 4.5 miles of the road is closed from the Gros Ventre Junction with US Highway 26/89/191 to the Gros Ventre Campground due to significant erosion along the Gros Ventre River and road damage.  Currently, traffic to the community of Kelly and the Gros Ventre Campground, as well as other locations in the area, is rerouted via Antelope Flats Road.  All detours are signed along the roadways. 
More than 35 feet of the riverbank has eroded this spring due to substantial water runoff.   The eroded river bank is immediately adjacent to a section of the road, located approximately two miles east of the Gros Ventre Junction. The National Park Service installed streambank armoring at this location to avert this from occurring in the past, however, the dynamic and braided nature of the river course changed quickly and dramatically this spring.  Monitoring of the area will continue. According to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the snowpack in the Gros Ventre Range and other areas that melt into the Gros Ventre River System received the highest amount of precipitation this year compared to the last 36 years. 
The Gros Ventre Campground is open and available for first-come, first-served overnight camping. During the road closure, access to the campground is via the Antelope Flats Road, which is approximately ½ mile north of Moose Junction.  The Antelope Flats Road provides access to Mormon Row as well. There is no through vehicle traffic on Mormon Row or Warm Ditch Roads, although, bicycles are allowed.  

Last updated: June 19, 2017

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