Yellowstone National Park Road Improvements
March 16, 2012
Filed under Camping News
Finding your way around Yellowstone National Park will soon be easier with the announcement of a project to rebuild 16 miles of roadway within the park.
The approved plan calls for the reconstruction of a portion of the northern section of Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Loop Road. A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) allowing construction to begin was signed by the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director in late October. An Environmental Assessment (EA) proposing two alternatives was released for public review and comment in May 2011.
The project includes reconstruction of a 15.9-mile segment of the road and its associated parking areas and turnouts, as well as the rehabilitation of two bridges between the Norris campground entrance and a point just north of Swan Lake Flats known as Golden Gate. Depending upon available funding, the project could begin as early as 2014.
Improvement of the road is needed in order for the park to maintain acceptable engineering safety standards and provide a safe and enjoyable driving experience for visitors. It also serves to better facilitate park operations and emergency services, improve resource protection and enable more efficient use of park funds.
Highlights of the approved alternative include: widening the road from its current 19-to-22-foot width to a width of 30 feet; expanding parking areas and turnouts to more adequately handle traffic volumes and reduce wildlife viewing jams; and shifting the road’s alignment to reduce dangerous curves at Frying Pan Spring, Semi-Centennial Geyser, and the curve just north of Grizzly Lake Trailhead.
The project will also upgrade accessibility features for disabled visitors. Improvements will be completed in phases during the early spring and late fall periods to reduce the impact on day-to-day operations along the route.