Multiple improvement projects underway in Yellowstone National Park - East Idaho News
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Multiple improvement projects underway in Yellowstone National Park

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The following is a business column from Construction Business TV.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Officials in Yellowstone National Park have a lot of cleaning up to do.

As the scope of the damage was being surveyed last month, federal officials told the Associated Press recovery efforts could take years and cost upwards of $1 billion to rebuild.

RELATED | Yellowstone flooding rebuild could take years, cost billions

Most of the park reopened to visitors on June 22 after a nine-day closure. The north and northeast entrances remain closed, according to the National Park Service.

Several major road construction projects are already underway and could impact traffic for the duration.

One of the projects is the removal of the Lewis River Bridge nearly 10 miles north of the south entrance of the park. The 273-foot-long bridge dating back to 1960 was heavily damaged in the flood. A new bridge will be built immediately downstream to preserve safe visitor access between the south entrance and West Thumb.

Visitors can expect delays of up to 20 minutes. Nearby pullouts and the trail to Lewis River Falls will be closed through November 1, when it’s slated for completion.

Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb will be repaved. Park officials say this 22-mile section of road was last repaved in 1987 and has deteriorated over the years due to heavy use and winter weather conditions. Guardrails, culverts and other drainage structures will be replaced to enhance visitor safety.

From now until Nov. 1, expect delays of up to 30 minutes.

A new bridge upstream of the Yellowstone River Bridge near Tower Junction along the northeast entrance road will replace the 59-year-old structure. The goal is to preserve year-round access to and from the northeast entrance and to neighboring communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana.

New pullouts and paved parking areas will increase access to trails, fishing, and viewpoints.

This project will begin this fall and be completed in phases through 2025. Traffic delays of up to 30 minutes are expected.

The Yellowstone River Picnic Area and Wrecker Curve access road and parking areas will be closed during construction, though hiking trails in the area will remain open.

All three projects are being funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and the Legacy Restoration Fund.

For the most up-to-date information about road closures in the park, click here.