Cheers to the incredible crews from Evans Construction and WYDOT who busted their collective butts working 24/7 for three straight weeks to get Teton Pass reopened after a landslide caused a catastrophic failure on the night of June 7th. Teton Pass is open to all traffic including those massive 60,000 lbs semis but the speed limit will be limited to 20mph. The reopening is a massive relief to all the folks in Victor and Driggs, Idaho who commute to Jackson Hole for work as they had to take an 86 mile detour for the past few weeks to get to work. They can now resume the 24 mile drive over the pass. Nice!

Wyoming Department of Transportation Press Release:

The Wyoming Department of Transportation reopened Wyoming Highway 22/Teton Pass to live traffic at noon today, just three weeks after the Big Fill landslide severed the Teton Valley.

“While temporary, this detour safely reconnects communities and gives commuting families their valuable personal time back,” said WYDOT Director Darin Westby. “This process underscores the vital importance of infrastructure like mountain passes that connect people to work, family, medical care, affordable housing and other necessities.”

WYDOT wants to reassure highway users that the slide area will be continually monitored as engineers and other professionals now look to designing and planning the reconstruction of the section of highway impacted by the slide. The goal is to have Teton Pass completely rebuilt before the worst of winter arrives.

“Together with our stakeholders, partners, contractors and community advocates, we were able to accomplish this major feat in a matter of weeks – despite expectations that it would take months, or even years – all while keeping safety paramount,” said John Eddins, WYDOT District 3 Engineer. “Of course, we have so many to thank for this achievement.”

Evans Construction and its subcontractors worked around the clock, even through Father’s Day weekend, to build the temporary detour. WYDOT commends Evans for their dedication, responsiveness and efficiency as their crews accomplished this massive undertaking.

Avail Valley Construction also deserves a hearty thanks for the quick work on the mudslide cleanup and culvert installation at mile marker 15. Understanding the need to relieve commuters from the strain of a nearly four-hour commute, Avail has agreed to continue work with live traffic to allow the detour to open. WYDOT thanks Avail for their flexibility and responsiveness.

The Wyoming Transportation Commission held two special meetings to quickly approve emergency funding in order for Avail and Evans to continue moving forward. WYDOT appreciates the extra time their Commissioners put in to support the repair process.

WYDOT would like to thank Governor Gordon for the quick emergency declaration, which sped up the emergency federal funding on this project. This vital funding helps WYDOT stay on track with the vital highway maintenance and construction work needed elsewhere in the state. The US Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration have also been extremely supportive with emergency funding assistance, and WYDOT is grateful.

Congressional delegates of Idaho and Wyoming were also instrumental in WYDOT’s quick receipt of emergency federal funding thanks to letters to the USDOT and FHWA and other vocal support. WYDOT is thankful to have each delegate in our corner in this effort.

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest has been an essential partner as WYDOT engineers worked on the detour through the National Forest land, expediting permitting procedures and collaborating with engineers live onsite. WYDOT is thankful for such a strong partnership, with specific thanks to the hard work of District Ranger Jay Pence.

Many in Wyoming know that we can count on a neighbor to lend a helping hand, and that could not be more true of the Idaho Transportation Department. ITD crews assisted with the mudslide cleanup at mile marker 15, especially in the aftermath of the Big Fill slide June 8. ITD also provided WYDOT with concrete barriers for the detour, among other assistance.

Last, but certainly not least, WYDOT appreciates the Teton Valley communities in both Idaho and Wyoming for acting quickly in assisting commuters and tourists with travel adjustments and other relief efforts in the wake of the extended highway closure.

“I think every Wyoming resident or regional commuter can be proud of their transportation department,” Westby said. “WYDOT staff from a variety of departments and areas of expertise rolled up their sleeves and got to work for the people – a master level class in public service.”

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