Stimulus Money Will Help With Rebuild of Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road
More money is heading to Glacier National Park to help with the rebuild of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. However, that road construction means you'll be spending some time mired in construction delays while crossing the 50-mile-long road next year.
Park officials say the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is funneling nearly $28 million to the ongoing Sun Road rehabilitation project. That money should speed up work on the historic road, according to Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright.
“This is truly a win-win scenario,” said the superintendent. “This short-term infusion of stimulus funding creates additional jobs and an investment in the area economy while allowing us to better plan for the long-term road work schedule. The stimulus funding for the next phase of work on the Sun Road (two-and-a-half miles between Logan Pass and Siyeh Bend) places additional challenges on project managers to ensure that this ‘shovel-ready’ work is completed in a timely manner while allowing summer visitors to travel the entire Sun Road and enjoy this National Historic Landmark.”
While the stimulus funding will enable the construction crews to proceed with two separate Sun Road projects simultaneously, it also means traffic delays throughout the 2010 season. The schedule adjustments, which take effect next summer, are intended to minimize impacts on the largest number of park visitors, while maximizing the amount of work being accomplished each season, the park said.
Here's a look at that schedule:
Daytime Work Schedule:
After numerous meetings with park stakeholders and the public over the last six months, Superintendent Cartwright announced that park visitors can expect an increase in overall potential delays from the current 30 minutes to a total of 40 minutes for a one-way trip across the entire Sun Road.
Nighttime Work Schedule:
Superintendent Cartwright noted that night work will be allowed during 2010 from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the west side of the Continental Divide. No passage will be allowed through the construction zone during the entire 10-hour work shift. The road on the east side of the Divide will have the same nighttime restrictions, but there will be one short, 15-minute window for passage through the construction zone at 2 a.m.
Springtime Vehicle Traffic Projected Openings:
The earliest mid-June dates that the entire Sun Road may open to through vehicle traffic across Logan Pass will be targeted for the Friday before the third weekend in June. Jim Foster, the park’s chief of facility management, said “these June dates reflect the earliest possible date the entire Sun Road could open to vehicle traffic across Logan Pass. These projected dates are not hard opening dates since many factors outside of the NPS' control affect spring opening such as late spring weather conditions, plowing, avalanche danger, poor visibility, equipment breakdowns and/or unforeseen road damage.”
Fall Vehicle Traffic Restrictions:
Mid-September vehicle traffic restrictions across Logan Pass, which allow for accelerated road reconstruction during the shoulder season, are planned for the Monday following the third full weekend in September. These dates reflect a hard restriction to vehicle access from either Avalanche on the west side, or Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side, depending on where the work is taking place that year. Access to Logan pass after the September restriction will be from either the east or west side, but not both sides. For instance, this fall the vehicle restriction was at Avalanche; vehicle access was provided to Logan Pass the east side of the park until Monday, October 19. Fall visitors may still drive to Jackson Glacier Overlook and Avalanche as long as weather and road conditions permit.
“Regardless of Sun Road rehabilitation work, weather permitting, Logan Pass remains accessible each year from at least one side until the Monday following the third full weekend of October," said Chief Foster. "Should snow storms and/or hazardous driving conditions prompt temporary restrictions prior to the projected October date; every effort is made to reopen to Logan Pass as conditions permit.”
For additional information about the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Project go to: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/eblast.htm.
To access the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) go to: http://www.nps/gov/management/planning/html.
For current parkwide road conditions, visit: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.