More than 2,000 vehicles use Old Gardiner Road each day, according to a press release, but the road was destroyed during June flooding.
Four months after disastrous flooding, rockslides and mudslides destroyed five sections of Old Gardiner Road near Yellowstone National Park’s North entrance, park officials are prepared to reopen the road at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
“We’re pleased to be reopening the North Entrance and reconnecting Yellowstone to Gardiner, Montana,” said Cam Sholly, park superintendent, in a press release. “We want to thank the outstanding support and work of the Federal Highway Administration and HK Contractors, INC for getting this road built in just four months.”
During reconstruction, the crews made various improvements to Old Gardiner Road, according to the press release. Crews added a second lane to the one-lane dirt road that was originally built in the 1880s, and they paved and painted all four miles of the road. Engineers designed a quarter-mile approach road to help flatten the steep 12% to 15% grade leading into Mammoth Hot Springs. Crews also placed more than 5,000 feet of guardrail and added more pullouts for vehicles.
“It’s thanks to the strong partnership between Yellowstone National Park, the Western Federal Lands Division of the Federal Highway Administration and the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service that we were able to rapidly respond to this event and re-establish access for Yellowstone visitors, employees and gateway communities,” said Timothy Hess, FHWA associate administrator of federal lands. “The multi-agency response team includes dozens of men and women who have worked tirelessly to plan and execute the repairs needed to open these roads before winter sets in. We’re proud to be part of this effort and will continue to support ongoing work to ensure continued access to one of our nation’s most beloved parks.”
The park also notes that almost all park roads will close after Oct. 31 to prepare for the winter season.