A key section of the Grand Loop road system in Yellowstone National Park will be closed to traffic for the rest of the summer beginning August 17. That won’t keep you from reaching all front-country areas of the park, but it will require some substantial detours. While we mentioned this earlier this year, it’s a big enough project that could impact your vacation, so it’s worth bringing it up again.
On August 17 the stretch of road between Norris and Madison will be closed to traffic for the rest of the summer to allow for a major construction project. The road will be closed to traffic 24-hours a day between Artist Paint Pots through Gibbon Canyon to the Tuff Cliff Picnic Area through the November 2 fall closing date of most park interior roads.
The full closure is necessary to construct a new bridge span across the Gibbon River, replace the deck and surface of the bridge near Beryl Springs, and continue to remove massive amounts of rock and dirt to realign the road near Gibbon Falls. This work can only be done during the summer and fall, due to the length and severity of winter in Yellowstone’s interior.
Despite the closure, park visitors will still be able to travel to and between all major locations in the park. However, it will take substantially more time than normal to travel between some locations during this time. For instance, to go from Madison Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs you’ll have to go south on the Grand Loop to West Thumb, and then back north to Canyon, then west to Norris, then north to Mammoth Hot Springs.
During this full closure, anglers will be allowed to access the Gibbon River between Artist Paint Pots to the bridge north of the Monument Geyser Basin trailhead, and from one mile south of Gibbon Falls to the Tuff Cliff Picnic area, as long as they don’t walk on, along, or near the road. A map showing the fishing closure is available at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/upload/FishClosureAugThroughNov_Together.pdf
The road will be open for snowmobile and snowcoach travel for the December 15 scheduled start of the 2009-2010 winter season.
Construction work will resume once the road between Norris and Madison reopens to automobiles on April 16, 2010. Visitors can expect up to 30-minute delays from April on into October. After Memorial Day, visitors can also expect nightly closures from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. The nightly closures are expected to end just prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend. There will be no all-day or multi-day closures of the road between Madison and Norris in 2010.
Please send us your comments and let us know what you think…
Video and Photo By Bob Woodall
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