Let's see, Great Smoky Mountains? Check. Zion National Park? Check. Sequoia National Park? Check. Grand Teton National Park? Check. Yellowstone National Park? Check. Glacier National Park? Yep, it too will feature some traffic snarls due to road construction along the Going-to-the-Sun Road this spring and summer.
Glacier official have set aside three weeks for resurfacing of 14.5 miles of the Sun Road from the Apgar Transit intersection to the Avalanche Campground just inside the West Glacier entrance. Much of this stretch of road is in poor condition, and Federal Highway Administration and National Park Service engineers determined the overlay is needed as soon as possible to help prevent further deterioration and preserve the road until it is reconstructed later as part of the multi-year Sun Road rehabilitation project.
The work is scheduled to take place between Monday, May 17 and Saturday, June 5, 2010, weather permitting. A one-and-a-half-inch overlay of asphalt will be applied to the road. Every effort will be made to lessen the impact to spring-time visitors, who should expect about a 15-to-30 minute delay while traveling that length of the Sun Road.
So as to maximize visitor access during the three-day holiday weekend that includes Memorial Day, no work will take place between Saturday, May 29 and Monday, May 31.
Work will end at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 21 to accommodate expected vehicle traffic to Lake McDonald Lodge for the Spring for Glacier event.
During this resurfacing, visitors can expect visible traffic control, including pilot cars, when traveling through the work areas. Visitors can also expect a much-improved road surface once the project is complete. The project will cost $1-$3 million, and is being completed by HK Contractors, Inc.
This stretch of Sun Road was last reconstructed and surfaced in 1991. According to park superintendent Chas Cartwright, "The overlay is a temporary fix until the road is again reconstructed as part of the ongoing Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation project. That work is anticipated, depending on a number of variables including funding, in 2015-2016."
As a reminder, this spring, the Sun Road will not be accessible to vehicle traffic beyond the Avalanche Campground area to allow spring road reconstruction work. Hikers and bicyclists are currently allowed about three miles past the Avalanche Campground area during work hours. There are usually no restrictions on hiking and bicycling on the Sun Road during the weekends and after work hours, but that is subject-to-change by the contractors. The earliest possible date, weather permitting, for vehicle access across the entire 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, is Friday, June 18.
Current road conditions are available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If your phone does not support 511, call 1-800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select “Glacier Park Tourist Information” from the main menu to hear Glacier’s road report. Information on current park road conditions is also available on the park’s road status web site: http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.
This page is updated as conditions change. Travelers may also call park headquarters at 406-888-7800 for current road and weather conditions.