Wyoming — While it seemed like Teton Pass was going to be closed for a long time, it sounds like they’ll soon be able to open a detour near the part of the road that collapsed.

Today, Wyoming’s Department of Transportation announced the tentative plan to repair Teton Pass. While the area around the road that collapsed will need significant time to repair, officials believe that they can build a detour to reopen the road within a few weeks. The two-lane temporary road will be created using local fill material. This reopening detour will have weight and weight restrictions. In addition, parts of the road that are unaffected by the landslide at milepost 12.8 and the mudslide at milepost 15 could become accessible for those who want to go camping in the near future.

The official press release from Wyoming’s Department of Transportation is below.

Teton Pass road closure continues, interim detour planned

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has closed access to Wyoming State Highway 22/ Teton Pass due to a landslide at milepost 12.8 and a mudslide at milepost 15. Commuters have been asked to detour around using US 26 through Swan Valley and then into the Snake River Canyon. WYDOT crews are currently evaluating the stability of the area and investigating adjacent areas for potential safety hazards. This is being considered an extended closure, and there currently is no estimated opening date.  

WYDOT crews have been working closely with other agencies and partners to secure the area and explore potential interim access, as well as long term reconstruction options. Currently, WYDOT geologists and engineers are confident they can build a safe, temporary detour around the slide area using local fill material and paving two temporary lanes. They are hoping to have a temporary detour open to the public, likely with some strict weight and width restrictions, in a few weeks.  

“I want to express my gratitude to WYDOT Director Westby and his entire team for their efforts to rapidly develop and implement a plan to get traffic moving over Teton Pass again as quickly as possible,” Governor Mark Gordon said.

Geologists and engineers are evaluating the area and putting together a long term plan to rebuild the road. There is no current estimated timeline for that construction. WYDOT will be flying the area with a survey plane and doing some geological drilling in preparation for the reconstruction.  

WYDOT is working closely with the US Forest Service to provide access to recreation areas outside the slide area, despite the road closure. Agencies are collaborating to place signage on the road to allow users to access campsites unaffected by both the landslide at milepost 12.8 and the mudslide at milepost 15. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park remain open for visitors. 

Crews continue to manage the mudslide at milepost 15, and geologists and engineers are working on a plan to provide more drainage to the affected area by installing a box culvert. They are planning to do this work simultaneously with the temporary detour work at milepost 12.8. The work is dependent on availability of crews and materials, but WYDOT’s goal is to have this work completed when the temporary detour at 12.8 is ready for limited traffic.  

Governor Mark Gordon has issued an Executive Order declaring an emergency in response to both the mudslide at milepost 15 and the landslide at milepost 12.8. The declaration will help the state access additional resources from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to begin the substantial repairs required.

WYDOT is thankful for the quick responsiveness and support from other government agencies, including the US Forest Service and the Idaho Transportation Department, which has allowed WYDOT to mobilize quickly with planning and repairs.  

“WYDOT’s response through this crisis demonstrates the commitment, passion and ingenuity of our crews,” said WYDOT director Darin Westby. “We certainly want to thank the Governor, the Federal Highway Administration, the Idaho Transportation Department, the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, Evans Construction and the US Forest Service for their quick response, teamwork and dependability in our time of need.”

WYDOT would like to remind drivers to obey all roadside signs, traffic control devices and closures.  To receive alerts on this and other road conditions and closures, drivers can sign up for 511 Notify alerts at https://www.wyoroad.info/511/511NotifyAnnouncement.html. 

What a DOT sick logo, btw.

Image Credits: Wyoming Department of Transporation 

RELATED: How Teton Pass’s Catastrophic Road Failure Will Impact Regular People

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