It has been a long time coming, but the end of the roadwork finally is in sight for a key stretch through Yellowstone National Park.
In August traffic began traveling over the new road alignment through Gibbon Canyon between Norris and Madison Junction and across a new 253-foot bridge over the Gibbon River.
The construction progress means that round-the-clock travel is now being allowed along this section of the Grand Loop. However, visitors still can expect up to 30-minute construction delays through October 23, including through the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, park officials said.
Paving of the new road and the nearby Beryl Springs Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of September.
The redesigned Gibbon Falls Overlook and parking area, two new picnic areas, and the long-closed Gibbon Falls picnic area are all set to open to visitors October 23, weather permitting. All interior park roads are scheduled to close for the coming winter on Monday morning, November 8.
Another important component of the Gibbon Canyon road project began when traffic began traveling over the new road alignment. Wetlands, rare plants, thermal areas, and even the path of the Gibbon River itself were disturbed when the old road was built in the 1930s. Work is now under way to remove the old road and bridge and restore the 2-mile section of river corridor.
The land along the river is being reshaped back to the way it was before the old road was built, and thousands of native plants grown from seed are being planted in the area. When completed, about three acres of wetland habitat will have been restored, according to park officials.