Snow Plows Working Away in Glacier

By Beacon Staff

With spring weather just around the corner, the snow plows are hard at work on Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun road.

If you take a look at some of the photos the folks at GNP have posted on the plows’ progress, you’ll notice an extraordinary amount of snow. It looks like they’ll be at it for a while.

According to park officials:

Flattop and Many Glacier Snotel sites, snow measuring stations, are showing between 20 and 40 percent above normal snow water equivalent. Last week, USGS snow survey crews recorded 100 inches of snow on the ground at Siyeh Bend, two miles east of Logan Pass, and 140 inches of snow at the 7,500 foot elevation nearby.

Park crews began plowing the Chief Mountain Road, near the park’s northeast corner on Tuesday, March 15. The crews then focused their efforts on the Two Medicine Road. Instead of the three foot drifts they normally encounter at this time of year, the crews were plowing drifts up to eight feet deep. As soon as weather and road conditions permit, visitors will be able to drive to Running Eagle Falls. The Many Glacier Road will be the focus of east side plowing efforts this week. At present, crews are encountering drifts over ten feet deep. The Many Glacier Road will not open to motor vehicles until the third weekend of April at the earliest, to reduce stress on wildlife in critical winter range.

And on the west side of the park:

The crews have completed plowing Apgar Village and one lane on the Camas Road. The Camas and Inside North Fork Roads will be allowed to melt out prior to opening. Plowing of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) began on Friday, April 1, beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge. Crews are encountering 12-36 inches of snow with two to six inches of ice on the road surface. Once the crews plow beyond Avalanche Creek, HK Contractors will continue rehabilitation of the Sun Road along Upper McDonald Creek and on both sides of Logan Pass.

It’s always an exciting time when the plows get going, since it means warmer weather is on its way. But due to road construction contracts, the earliest possible date the Sun Road can fully open is June 17. Park officials said visitors can hike and bike past road closures when crews aren’t working; anyone choosing to do so should be aware of weather and snow slide conditions, as well as heavy machinery operating in the area.

For current road status, click here.

To see where the plows are, click here.

For the GNP webcams, click here.

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