Bear Lake Road Reconstruction Continues At Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: October 3, 2012
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

Beginning Wednesday, October 10, private vehicles will again be allowed throughout the day to travel along Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since late May, visitors could only access the Bear Lake area prior to 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. and through park shuttles during the day. Road construction will continue through the fall and during the winter, weather permitting. Beginning on October 10, park visitors should be prepared for the possibility of two thirty-minute delays in both directions. There are no construction delays between Park & Ride and Bear Lake. Evening closures, from the Big Thompson Bridge to the Park & Ride, are currently in place on Tuesday and Thursday nights only. The road is closed from 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings and again at 10:30 p.m. Thursday nights through 5:30 a.m. Friday mornings. After October 15, evening closures will take place on the same nights, but closure times will change from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.      

This two-year project is taking place on Bear Lake Road from the junction of Trail Ridge Road/Highway 36 to the Park & Ride - Glacier Basin Campground intersection, covering 5.1 miles. The work is similar in scope and impacts as the first phase of reconstruction on Bear Lake Road which was completed in 2004, and took place on the upper 4.3 mile section of road. This major project involves construction of significant retaining walls to improve safety and drainage. In addition, a 0.9 mile section is being rerouted away from Glacier Creek, in order to prevent impacts to wetlands and riparian habitat and reduce costs. This summer, repairs were made on the Big Thompson Bridge to improve safety. Structural deficiencies will be corrected in the roadway and inadequate parking and pullout design will be improved. This project will widen the road and improve the road surface to better accommodate park shuttle buses. Safety associated with winter snow removal will be enhanced by the wider road.      

So far this year, asphalt paving has been completed from the Trail Ridge Road intersection to the Big Thompson Bridge. All drainage culverts (2,277 linear feet) have been installed and over 40,000 cubic yards of embankment material has been placed. Two of six retaining walls have been completed and two more are currently being constructed. The earthwork on the 0.9 re-alignment section is nearly complete.      

Glacier Basin Campground is scheduled to be closed again next summer. This major road reconstruction project is slated to be completed by the fall of 2013.          

Bear Lake Road is one of the most popular scenic roads in Rocky Mountain National Park and provides year-round visitor access to a variety of wonderful recreational opportunities.       

Rocky is approaching its Centennial anniversary in 2015. Bear Lake Road was completed in 1928 and until 2003, no significant improvements were made. No major road work has taken place on the lower section for more than 80 years. When this project is complete, just prior to the park's hundredth anniversary, it will conclude over 47 miles of critical improvements on park roads since 2003.        

The Federal Highway Administration awarded a $23.4 million contract to American Civil Constructors and is administering this project on behalf of the National Park Service. American Civil Constructors is based in Littleton, Colorado. The overall cost of the project is $27.7 million.                  

This project involves 5.1 miles of road and access to another 4.3 miles. Information on the Bear Lake Road Reconstruction Project is available at, the park's recorded road status line (970) 586-1222 or through the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.         

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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