Much like an iceberg, the hole in the asphalt in Yellowstone National Park was only a small indication of a much larger problem beneath the roadway. As a result, a section of the park's Grand Loop Road has been closed to motorists...just hours after it opened for the summer season.
The basketball-sized hole was discovered Friday afternoon in a section of the Grand Loop road south of Canyon Junction. Upon further inspection, park staff members discovered a large section of the roadbed beneath the pavement has washed out, park officials reported.
Visitors can take in views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by traveling on the North Rim Drive. However, viewing locations along the South Rim Drive such as Artist Point won’t be accessible until road repairs are completed.
There is no estimate on the scope of the necessary repairs of the length of the temporary closure of this section of road.
After being closed to automobiles all winter, Friday morning some interior park roads opened to motorists for the start of the busy tourist season.
Visitors may enter Yellowstone through the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, and West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana, to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful. The road from Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction to Cooke City, Montana, is open all year.
The road south of the Canyon area to Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance is not scheduled to open for the season until May 4. The park’s South Entrance to West Thumb, Old Faithful, and Lake Village is scheduled to open on May 11.
Information on park road conditions is available 24 hours a day by calling the park’s road information hotline at 307-344-2117.