Yellowstone National Park (YNP) announced in a press release that Old Gardiner Road will open to regular traffic no later than November 1 of this year.
The highway will reconnect Mammoth Hot Springs with Gardiner, Montana, after flooding in mid-June caused millions of dollars in damage throughout the park and destroyed several roads and bridges.
Old Gardner Road was originally a single lane dirt road that has now been widened to two lanes for its entire 4-mile length, with a new access road to Mammoth Hot Springs still under construction.
According to the release, paving of the highway will begin this week and about a mile of guardrails will be installed between October 10 and 20.
The two lane highway is a limited access highway between Gardiner, Montana and Mammoth Hot Springs and will be extended up to two weeks to ensure the installation of 5,000 feet of railing.
The park was closed from June 13 to June 21 and then opened three entrances on June 22 due to flooding.
On July 2, entry restrictions at the East, South, and West entrances were lifted.
Since June, the Small Business Administration has been approving disaster relief loans for both homes and businesses, distributing a total of $9.8 million through August 29.
While the YNP has asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to build a new quarter-mile access road to Mammoth Hot Springs and requires additional engineering and designs to accommodate the 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles per day entering the park from the North Entrance.
Yellowstone has also asked the FHWA to widen roadways on certain unspecified sections of Old Gardiner Road to avoid restrictions.
Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the statement:
“We have set incredibly aggressive time frames for these repairs and our contractors have worked at lightning speed to safely reopen this road,” Sholly said. “It is essential that we do not cut corners and ensure that the road meets the required safety standards before opening. It is also essential that we finish the job correctly, to avoid problems next year.”
According to the release, the Northeast Entrance Road, which runs from Tower Junction to the northeast entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana, is expected to open on October 15.
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