AP NEWS

Sun Road plowing progress made; projects outlined

May 4, 2019

Crews plowing the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park this week reached the chutes below Arches, moving ever closer to Logan Pass.

Crews on the east side backtracked a bit from Siyeh Bend to perform additional plowing and to remove downed trees and ended for the week at the Jackson Glacier overlook.

Beginning this month, the park will undertake a two-year pavement preservation project on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Chief Mountain Road, a portion of Camas Road, a portion of the Many Glacier Road near Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, and in parking lots and other smaller roads throughout the park.

In May, crews will work in the Apgar area, and begin patching and crack sealing on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Once the road has been prepared, crews will begin laying pavement preservation material, likely in later May as weather improves and temperatures rise. Crews will perform work under traffic control and visitors should be prepared to wait no more than 30 minutes in pilot cue lines before traveling through work zones.

While patching and crack sealing is ongoing, the park anticipates that hiker and biker access behind the gate on the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be possible when plow crews are not working. People should monitor the park’s road status webpage to learn where crews are working during the weekdays, and how much of the road can be accessed by hikers and bikers.

Once pavement preservation starts in later May, the park anticipates the hiker and biker closure will move back to Avalanche Creek. No hiker and biker access is anticipated during the weekdays at that time because the preservation material requires additional hours to cure after it is applied. Normal hiking and biking access is anticipated on the weekend.

Highlighted pavement preservation areas and reminders for summer and fall:

• The Going-to-the-Sun Road will not open in its entirety before June 22 this year due to pavement preservation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the road will open on June 22. Plowing conditions and late spring storm activity determine when the road will open, typically sometime between the middle of June and middle of July.

• Numerous parking areas and pull-outs will be treated including visitor centers and overnight lodges, which will cause temporary short term limited parking.

• Campground loops will be treated which will cause some short-term closures. Campers will be notified upon check in if pavement preservation is scheduled for that day.

• The road between Many Glacier Hotel and Swiftcurrent Motor Inn will be treated. Shoulder parking will not be available.

• There will likely be a Going-to-the-Sun Road closure between Avalanche and Logan Pass from Sept. 16-30 while the road is treated. Logan Pass will still be accessible from the St. Mary entrance.

Meanwhile, spring in Glacier National Park can mean increased recreational opportunities, including hiking and biking beyond vehicle gate closures on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Spring weekend hiker and biker shuttle service starts May 11.

The hiker-biker shuttle will run every 20 minutes from Apgar Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m, and on May 27 (Memorial Day). Shuttles, equipped with bicycle trailers, will stop at Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche Creek (once open to motor vehicle traffic).

The fare-free weekend-only shuttle will operate until the full length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens to motor vehicles. The road typically opens to Logan Pass between mid-June and mid-July, depending on snow and plowing conditions.

Donations to the Glacier National Park Conservancy support the spring shuttle service and volunteer bike patrol unit.