Entire Sun Road Expected to Open by Holiday Weekend

By Flathead Beacon Staff

2014-07-01_1004

Plowing operations at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. COURTESY GLACIER NATIONALPARK.

The entire Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is anticipated to be open to vehicle travel by this weekend, allowing access to Logan Pass, park officials announced Monday.

Most of the snow removal is completed and park crews are clearing debris and installing seasonal guard rails and signage along the iconic road this week while staff are preparing Logan Pass Visitor Center for its summer opening.

The west side of the Sun Road was expected to be open around June 20 this year, but a winter storm hit the high country and caused as many as 16 avalanches, including slides up to 200-feet long and 15-feet deep on the road.

“Opening the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a priority, and many employees are helping to make that happen,” Superintendent Jeff Mow said.

Trail and campground crews began assisting over the weekend to help remove snow by hand in the Logan Pass Visitor Center area, according to the park. Water testing is being completed, and facilities such as restrooms and the visitor center are being cleaned.

The park’s free, optional shuttle system that provides services along the Sun Road will continue limited operations to The Loop on the west side until the entire length of the road opens. Beginning July 1, shuttle service will be available at all locations between the Apgar Visitor Center and The Loop. East-side shuttle service will begin when access to Logan Pass is available.

Due to recent weather events, park managers anticipated vehicle access to the pass would be delayed and decided to utilize some cost savings to provide limited shuttle access for the public, according to spokesperson Denise Germann. The cost savings was from postponed full shuttle operations, and salary savings of various park vacancies.

“We understand the value to the visitor, and local economy, of accessing the alpine section of the road and are doing our best to accommodate,” Mow said.

The west side vehicle closure remains at Avalanche and the east-side closure remains at Jackson Glacier Overlook. Closures will continue at their respective locations until the entire length of the road is open to vehicle travel.

Hiker-biker access on the west side of the park is currently available from Avalanche to Bird Woman Overlook. There is no hiker-biker access on the east side of the Sun Road due to road rehabilitation work.

Read more about the shuttle system.  For current information on park roads, weather conditions, and visitor services visit Glacier National Park’s website or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.

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