NewsMontana News

Actions

Road construction underway on Northeast Entrance Road near Cooke City

Yellowstone National Park flood recovery update: Change to access from the Northeast Entrance into the park
yellowstone-national-park.jpeg
Posted at 9:18 AM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 15:20:02-04

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY — In what's called "major construction repairs," work has begun on all damaged sections of the park’s Northeast Entrance Road near Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana. This requires alterations to the closures on the road.

Construction began on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

The road had previously been open to bicyclists and pedestrian traffic to Barronette Meadow. Due to significant work beginning on the road this week, the road will be closed near the Warm Creek Trailhead and picnic area. This will still afford access to visitors and residents but will provide room for construction work to begin, including the staging of equipment and materials needed to make repairs. It is estimated that repairs will be completed by Oct. 15, facilitating traffic between the park and Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana.

Road construction underway on Northeast Entrance Road near Cooke City

New changes to foot and bicycle access on Northeast Entrance Road

  • Northeast Entrance Road (via Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana):
  • Visitors can now travel 2 miles to Warm Creek Trailhead on bicycle (on paved roadways) and by foot for fishing and hiking in areas not identified as closed.
  • Previously, recreators could travel 6 miles into the park through the Northeast Entrance. To promote safe access within the active construction zone, the park is moving the barrier closer to the entrance to reduce potential conflicts between construction equipment and those on foot/bicycle.

Safety Precautions

  • Stay alert: Individuals using the roadway by foot or bicycle should be extremely cautious and expect heavy equipment on the roadways. Roadway shoulders are narrow and several curves along the roadway limit visibility. The park will also advise Oftedal Construction Inc. to be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians as they continue mobilizing.

Stay Informed

  • Visit Park Roads [nps.gov].
  • To receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).
  • Call (307) 344-2117 for a recorded message.

Yellowstone National Park timelines for North Entrance and Northeast Entrance roads

Yellowstone National Park continues to make major progress with short- and long-term efforts to reconnect the park to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana.

In mid-June, Yellowstone experienced a 500-year flood event [nps.gov] that caused severe damage to roads, water and wastewater systems, power lines and other critical park infrastructure. The most significant damage severed access to the park via the North Entrance and Northeast Entrance roads. One month after the historic event and the park closing temporarily, 93% of park roadways were reopened.

The park asks the public to understand the differences in timelines between short-term construction solutions that will reopen the North Entrance and Northeast Entrance roads to the public later this year, and the long-term reconstruction efforts that will take place over the upcoming years.

North Entrance Road (Mammoth Hot Springs to the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana)

Short-term Reconnection (Completion expected in October 2022)  

Efforts to two-lane the Old Gardiner Road have continued accelerating with approximately 1.5 miles of the 4-mile road already at two lanes. Substantial culvert work, slope stabilization and retainment has occurred. This road is expected to be passable for regular traffic by Oct. 15, 2022, however, additional improvements will continue beyond that date weather permitting. Once completed, this temporary road will allow for regular vehicle access, including visitors, to travel between Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner going into the winter season. This road will be used as the primary access route until a permanent reconstruction option is completed in upcoming years. This project is being completed with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and funded largely by FHWA Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). HK Contractors Inc. is the primary construction company under contract to complete this project.

Long-term Reconstruction (Estimated Multi-Year)  

The National Park Service (NPS) is working closely with the FHWA to prepare and analyze a range of long-term alternatives for the permanent reconstruction of the primary road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner. This road is closed and not drivable due to several washed-out road segments. The criteria for selection will focus largely on alternatives that are least environmentally impacting, least visually impacting, most resilient to future natural disasters, most expeditious and cost-effective, and take advantage of unimpacted existing road infrastructure if possible. Timelines for long-term reconstruction will be predicated on which alternative is selected. The public will have ample opportunities to comment as this planning process proceeds.

Northeast Entrance Road (Completion expected in October 2022) 

Efforts to repair approximately five damaged sections of the Northeast Entrance Road (between Slough Creek and Barronette Meadows) are underway and will be accelerating substantially in the upcoming weeks. Plans and designs have been completed for each damaged section. This project is expected to be passable for regular traffic by Oct. 15, 2022, however, additional improvements will continue beyond that date weather permitting. Once completed, these temporary repairs will allow for regular vehicle access, including visitors, to travel between Tower Junction and Cooke City/Silver Gate. This project is being completed with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and funded largely by FHWA Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). Oftedal Contractors Inc. is the primary construction company under contract to complete this project.

Long-term Reconstruction (Estimated Multi-Year)   

The NPS is working closely with the FHWA to prepare and analyze a range of long-term alternatives for the permanent reconstruction of the Northeast Entrance Road. Similar to the North Entrance Road, the criteria for selection will focus largely on alternatives that are least environmentally impacting, least visually impacting, most resilient to future natural disasters, most expeditious and cost-effective, and take advantage of unimpacted existing road infrastructure if possible. Timelines for long-term reconstruction will be predicated on which alternative is selected. The public will have ample opportunity to comment as this planning process proceeds.

Repairs for the North and Northeast Entrance roads are extensive (see damage on Yellowstone Flickr [flickr.com]) and being done as quickly as possible. Should timelines change going into the fall due to early winter weather or other events, Yellowstone will communicate with the public and stakeholders.

Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate remain open with access to the park via foot, bicycles, and horseback in approved areas (see map [nps.gov]).

Approximately 94% of the Yellowstone backcountry is open. View the Backcountry Situation Report [nps.gov] for details.

As the park recovers, it's critical that visitors traveling to the park in the coming weeks stay informed [nps.gov] about what's open and closed.

Commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone 

Visit go.nps.gov/Yellowstone150 [nps.gov] and follow #Yellowstone150 frequently in 2022 to stay current on commemoration information.