Old Gardiner Road in Yellowstone to Open by November
Yellowstone National Park (YNP) announced in a press release that Old Gardiner Road will open to regular traffic on Nov. 1 this year at the latest.
The road will reconnect Mammoth Hot Springs to Gardiner, Montana, after the floods in mid-June which lead to millions in dollars of damages across the park and destroyed several roads and bridges.
Old Gardner Road was originally a single-lane dirt road that has now been expanded to two lanes over its entire 4-mile length, with a new approach road coming into Mammoth Hot Springs still under construction.
According to the release, paving on the road will begin this week and around one mile of guardrail will be installed between Oct. 10 and 20.
The two-lane road is a limited-access road between Gardiner, Montana, and Mammoth Hot Springs and will be extended up to two weeks to ensure the installation of 5,000 feet of guardrail.
The park was closed from June 13 to 21 and then opened three entrances on June 22 due to the flooding.
On July 2, entry restrictions on the East, South, and West entrances were removed.
Since June, the Small Business Administration has been approving disaster relief loans for both homes and businesses, distributing a total of $9.8 million dollars by Aug. 29.
While YNP has asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to build a new quarter-mile approach road into Mammoth Hot Springs and requires additional engineering and designs to accommodate the 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles a day that enter the park from the North Entrance.
Yellowstone has also asked the FHWA to make roads wider in certain unspecified sections of the Old Gardiner Road to prevent restrictions.
Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the release:
"We have set incredibly aggressive time frames for these repairs and our contractors have worked at lightning speed to get this road safely reopened," Sholly said. "It's essential that we do not cut corners and we ensure the road meets required safety standards prior to opening. It's also essential that we finish the job correctly, so we avoid any problems going into next year."
According to the release, the Northeast Entrance Road, which goes from Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana, is expected to open on Oct. 15.