In less than two days crews at Glacier National Park removed tons of rock and mud from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which reopened end-to-end Thursday afternoon.
Park officials reported that all 50 miles of the highly scenic byway reopened to all vehicle travel right around 2:30 p.m. Thursday after park road crews and contractors finished removing debris from the 12 rock and mud slides that occurred Tuesday afternoon.
Sixteen miles of the Sun Road between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass were closed Tuesday afternoon after a heavy downpour unleashed the slides above The Loop to an area near Triple Arches. Road clearing efforts began immediately as park employees and road contractors ensured visitors and vehicles were safely removed from the area.
Road clearing efforts involved use of equipment and hand shoveling to remove debris on the road and in culverts and ditches. HK Contractors, Inc., road rehabilitation contractors, aided park staff with road clearing efforts, often working outside their construction zones to deliver a safe and timely re-opening.
How long the road remains open is questionable, though. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Glacier National Park for Friday from noon to midnight. Heavy rain, lightning, hail, and winds up to 60 miles per hour may occur. Rainfall up to 2 inches per hour is forecasted. Visitors are reminded to drive cautiously and stay alert for signs of slides when driving the Sun Road.
Due to inclement weather forecasts, Glacier National Park’s Star Party at Logan Pass has been canceled for Friday, July 20. An additional Star Party is scheduled for August 17. Normal astronomy programming at the St. Mary Visitor Center and Apgar Transit Center will be dependent on weather conditions.
For current information on park roads, weather conditions, and visitor services visit Glacier National Park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800. Updates can also be found on the park’s official Facebook page at http://facebook.com/GlacierNationalPark and on Twitter @glaciernps