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Teton Pass road closure continues; interim detour planned

Photo courtesy of Wyoming Department of Transportation

JACKSON, Wyo. — Access to Wyoming State Highway 22-Teton Pass remains closed on Monday following a landslide at milepost 12.8 and a mudslide at milepost 15.

Commuters are asked to detour around using US 26 through Swan Valley and then into the Snake River Canyon. Wyoming Department of Transportation crews are currently evaluating the stability of the area and investigating adjacent areas for potential safety hazards.

According to WYDOT reports, this is being considered an extended closure and there currently is no estimated opening date.

WYDOT crews have been working closely with other agencies and partners to secure the area and explore potential interim access, as well as long term reconstruction options. Currently, WYDOT geologists and engineers are confident they can build a safe, temporary detour around the slide area using local fill material and paving two temporary lanes. They are hoping to have a temporary detour open to the public, likely with some strict weight and width restrictions, in a few weeks.

“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,” Gov. Mark Gordon said.

Geologists and engineers are evaluating the area and putting together a long term plan to rebuild the road. There is no current estimated timeline for that construction. WYDOT will be flying the area with a survey plane and doing some geological drilling in preparation for the reconstruction.

WYDOT is working closely with the US Forest Service to provide access to recreation areas outside the slide area, despite the road closure. Agencies are collaborating to place signage on the road to allow users to access campsites unaffected by both the landslide at milepost 12.8 and the mudslide at milepost 15. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park remain open for visitors.

Crews continue to manage the mudslide at milepost 15, and geologists and engineers are working on a plan to provide more drainage to the affected area by installing a box culvert. They are planning to do this work simultaneously with the temporary detour work at milepost 12.8. The work is dependent on availability of crews and materials, but WYDOT’s goal is to have this work completed when the temporary detour at 12.8 is ready for limited traffic.

Gov. Gordon recently issued an executive order declaring an emergency in response to both the mudslide at milepost 15 and the landslide at milepost 12.8. The declaration will help the state access additional resources from the Federal Highway Administration to begin the repairs required.