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What's with all the construction in Yellowstone? Learn how we're keeping Yellowstone in shape for future generations.
Yellowstone has an asset inventory totaling $4.1 billion, with an estimated $1 billion in deferred maintenance and repairs associated with this inventory. The park also has an estimated $54 million in annual routine maintenance requirements. To further Yellowstone's Investing in Infrastructure strategic priority, the park is committed to developing a cogent deferred maintenance reduction plan, improving the quality of data and prioritization processes, and taking better advantage of current and future funding to improve asset conditions and protect investments
Ongoing Infrastructure Projects
The park initiated a major, multimillion-dollar housing improvement effort to substantially upgrade National Park Service employee housing across the park. Our ability to attract and retain talent in Yellowstone is strongly tied to the availability of affordable private and government housing options both in and around the park. The effort focuses on four goals:
Learn more about employee housing improvements at Focusing on the Core.
High water during the 2022 flood event destroyed the Northeast Entrance Road in several places, which cut off access to Yellowstone via the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana.
This project includes stabilizing and rehabilitating the exteriors of 16 buildings located within the historic Fort Yellowstone area and one building located in Lower Mammoth that are currently used for employee housing. Improvements include rehabilitating the building envelopes, structural repairs, rehabilitating windows and doors, and hazardous material mitigation. This infrastructure improvement costs $22 million and is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, with an anticipated completion date in fall 2023.
This project includes preserving and stabilizing the historic Laurel and repurposing the building from concession housing to NPS employee housing. This structure if part of the Old Faithful Historic District, designed in 1922 by Robert Reamer, who designed the famous Old Faithful Inn. Improvements include rehabilitating the building envelope, including structural repairs, seismic stabilization, a new root, window repair, life safety improvements, and hazardous material mitigation. Interior redesign will provide approximately 20 safe and efficient employee apartments with updated mechanical and electrical systems. This infrastructure improvement costs $21 million and is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, with an anticipated completion date in spring 2024.
This project includes the removal and replacement of the structurally deficient Lewis River Bridge, located 10 miles north of the South Entrance on the South Entrance Road. The existing 273-foot-long bridge, built in 1960, will be removed, and a new bridge will be constructed immediately downstream to preserve safe visitor access between South Entrance and West Thumb. Parking areas, overlooks, and walkways in this area will be updated and reconfigured to reduce traffic hazards and improve accessibility for visitors. This project costs $31 million and is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, with an anticipated completion date in fall 2024.
This project includes the rehabilitation of 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb, one of the most heavily traveled road corridors in the park. Construction will include repaving the full 30-foot-wide roadway segment, which was last repaved in 1987 and has deteriorated due to heavy usage and winter weather conditions. Additionally, guardrails, culverts, and other drainage structures will be replaced to enhance visitor safety. This project costs $42 million and is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, with an anticipated completion date in fall 2023.
This project includes the replacement of the structurally deficient Yellowstone River Bridge, located near Tower Junction along the Northeast Entrance Road. A new bridge upstream will replace the existing 604-foot-long bridge, built in 1963, to preserve year-round access to/from the Northeast Entrance and communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana. New pullouts and paved parking areas will increase access to trails, fishing, and viewpoints. Yellowstone River Picnic Area will be enlarged to accommodate increased visitor use. This project costs $118 million and is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, with an anticipated completion date in fall 2026.
Completed Infrastructure Projects
This project included replacing an outdated ranger station and employee housing, rehabilitating the road, constructing a new parking area, and installing new utilities and a solar panel array in partnership with Northwestern Energy. The park invested $6 million for this project, which was completed in summer 2022.
This project reconstructed scenic overlooks along both sides of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Locations included Inspiration Point (overlook, parking area, and entrance road), Brink of the Upper Falls Point (overlooks, trail, parking area, and entrance road), and the Upper Falls Viewpoints (overlooks, trail, parking area, and entrance road). Construction began in spring 2016 and was completed in fall 2018. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received $10 million from the Federal Highways Administration and Yellowstone Forever.
This project replaced three lagoon liners at the Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant. The liners from all three ponds were 25 years old and showed substantial degradation. The sludge holding pond contained a substantial buildup of sludge, which significantly curtailed the usable storage volume of the pond and led to multiple overflows. Construction began in spring 2018 and was completed in summer 2021. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park invested $3 million.
High water during the 2022 flood event destroyed the North Entrance Road in several places, which cut off access to Yellowstone via the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana. To reconnect the park to the community of Gardiner, efforts quickly began to improve the Old Gardiner Road, a historic one-lane, dirt road originally constructed in 1879.
This project corrected deficiencies in three timber bridges located at Grant and one concrete overpass located at Old Faithful by replacing rotted deck timbers, railing, and pier stiffeners. Work also included repairing concrete abutments, approach slabs, and curbing. Construction began in spring 2020 and was completed in summer 2021. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received $3 million from the Federal Highways Administration.
This project included painting the exterior of this historic building, located in Fort Yellowstone, adding entry portico roots on the north side of the building where snow slides off the root, performing seismic retrofits, and replacing outdated electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarms, fire suppression, environmental controls, and security systems. All work followed the compliance process and complied with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Construction began in spring 2020 and was completed in summer 2021. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park invested $1 million.
This project included designing and installing a crib wall on the eroding north shore of Peale Island to protect the historic Peale Island Cabin. Over 42 tons of building material was flown to the island and used in the construction of the wall. Construction began in spring 2021 and was competed in fall 2021. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park invested $80,000 (and saved an estimated $140,000 from the original proposal to relocate the cabin).
With increasing visitation and traffic to the park, the North Entrance Station was not equipped to meet the challenges that come with these increases. This project included adding an additional lane and kiosk to improve traffic flow and reduce lines; replacing the existing two structures with three new entrance kiosk buildings; updating 2 miles of roadway; improving the flow of employee and delivery traffic from Robert Reamer Avenue; improving pedestrian safety by realigning parking along Robert Reamer Avenue; and replacing the water line along Robert Reamer Avenue. Construction of the entrance station began in 2020 and was completed in summer 2021. Funding for this project came from the Federal Highways Administration, Yellowstone Forever, National Park Foundation, and fees collected in the park, totaling $12 million.
To ensure the Pelican Creek estuary can flow unimpeded and evolve naturally, the original causeway, built in 1902, was replaced with a 1,500-foot-long viaduct. Construction on the bridge began in 2018 and was completed in fall 2020. This work was part of the Fishing Bridge to Indian Pond project, which also included widening 3.5 miles of the East Entrance Road, improving parking areas and pullouts, and rehabilitating Fishing Bridge. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received $42 million from the Federal Highways Administration.
This 4.7-mile project modernized this portion of the Grand Loop Road to a 30-foot width with turn lanes, parking improvements, and updated pullouts. A new stock trailhead parking at Glen Creek was constructed and accessible interpretive exhibits were installed at Obsidian Cliff along Obsidian Creek. Construction on this section of road began in 2016 and was completed in fall 2018. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received $25 million from the Federal Highways Administration.
This segment of road between Tower-Roosevelt and Chittenden Road remained largely unchanged since the last improvements in the 1930s. Construction work for this project included widening roughly 6 miles of the Grand Loop Road and providing additional/improved pullouts; creating a larger, safer parking area at Tower Fall General Store; improving the trail and overlook for Tower Fall; and reconditioning Chittenden Road and reconstructing the Mount Washburn parking area. Improvements began in spring 2019 and were completed in fall 2021. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received a grant through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands Program and matched it with fee dollars collected in the park, totaling $28 million.
State of the Park
Discover what we've accomplished in the last two years under the guidance of our strategic priorities.
Current information about road conditions, delays, and closures.
Last updated: March 23, 2023