Wyoming-bound tourists should keep their plans amid Teton Pass failure, officials say

Jun 12, 2024, 9:08 PM

Wyoming highway, Teton Pass...

Two portions of the Teton Pass highway in Wyoming suffered a "catastrophic" failure after a landslide and a mudslide completely destroyed the road. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working to secure a detour, and encouraged tourists to keep their plans to visit amid the construction. (Wyoming Department of Transportation)

(Wyoming Department of Transportation)

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is encouraging tourists with plans to visit the state to keep their summer plans, despite the recent failures of the highway that will lead many of them there.

WYDOT reassured travelers Wednesday that Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and the Teton Valley will be open and ready for summer fun, it’s just going to require a detour to get there. The current detour uses U.S. Route 26 through Swan Valley and adds a more significant time to the drive.

WYDOT said that crews have identified an area that will serve as an interim detour while long-term construction takes place on the road. Crews are working “around the clock” to secure this detour, and WYDOT said it hopes to open the alternative route within two weeks.

It won’t just be commuters on the detour, either. WYDOT issued a statement acknowledging the importance of the highway not just for the state’s economy, but for the safety and security of its residents.

“We understand this highway is a lifeline for commuters, deliveries, medical care access and tourism, especially with limited alternatives and the summer season upon us,” it said. “WYDOT engineers, surveyors and geologists mobilized quickly to try to maintain highway viability as long as possible, but catastrophic failure could not be avoided.”

The temporary detour, WYDOT said Tuesday, was made possible by the Wyoming Transportation Commission’s $430,000 grant given to Evans Construction.

Gov. Mark Gordon also issued an executive order declaring an emergency, which helped field additional resources from the Federal Highway Administration.

“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,” he said.

WYDOT said amid many questions and concerns being asked, its staff is working on “graphics and other explanations” which will be released in the coming days.

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Wyoming-bound tourists should keep their plans amid Teton Pass failure, officials say