A portion of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park will be closed each night beginning Monday, July 27. The 5.4 mile closure will prevent through-travel between Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. each night.
The closure is part of a multi-year road improvement project on a 16-mile stretch of road, with this year marking the final phase of the project.
Nightly closures will be in effect seven days a week for the section of road just north of the entrance to the Norris Campground to the Moose Exhibit turnaround in the Willow Park area, just south of the Indian Creek Campground eight miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs. Both campgrounds will remain open and accessible 24 hours a day, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
The closures are expected to last into September, but may be extended until early October if needed to safely complete the road project before winter.
“We realize closing this portion of the road will be an inconvenience to some visitors,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “However, the window of opportunity to perform road construction in Yellowstone is limited due to the long winters. By implementing these closures at night, it allows the contractor to more safely and effectively get this critical work done, while impacting the fewest number of visitors. No one wants their vacation to be affected by road construction, but we can all appreciate the safer, more enjoyable park experience that this project will provide.”
During the day, all park roads are open, but visitors should expect traffic delays of up to 30 minutes in construction areas. Motorists should use caution when traveling through construction areas: observe posted speed limits, be alert for construction workers and equipment, and be prepared to encounter gravel road surfaces that are bumpy, dusty, or muddy.
This roadway project involves improving and widening the current 18 to 22-foot wide road to the national standard of 30 feet. Included in the overall construction project is the addition of improved pullouts, widened shoulders, safer parking areas, reconstruction of a bridge over the Gardner River and re-routing of portions of the blacktop around critical thermal areas. The work is the first significant upgrade the road has received since it was first constructed in the 1920s, and is scheduled to be completed in October of this year.
Current Yellowstone NP road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117 or by visiting http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.