Park Awarded $9 million for Pavement Preservation on Going-to-the-Sun Road

Portions of road will likely be temporarily closed Sept. 16-29

By Tristan Scott
Visitors travel along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Beacon file photo

Glacier National Park will launch a major pavement preservation project in 2019 and 2020 to improve park roads, including the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which will receive a protective coating similar to a chip seal to extend the life of the iconic corridor.

Typically, pavement preservation is recommended every seven years, according to park officials, who said the treatment will protect the $200 million investment in the Going-to-the-Sun Road, including preserving significant roadbed and pavement work that was undertaken during the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation project over the last decade.

According to a press release, the $9 million project will focus on both the east and west sides of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Chief Mountain Road, the west portion of the Camas Road, Apgar Village Loop, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn Loop and Parking Area, and other minor areas. Pavement preservation requires warm temperatures and dry conditions.

“Pavement preservation will impact spring hiker and biker access and restrictions will likely be in place on both sides of the pass between Avalanche and Rising Sun,” the release states. “The park will update its road status web page restrictions, and issue more information about restrictions once the work schedule is known.”

In 2019, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will not open to Logan Pass before June 21, and in 2020, the road will not open before June 22, if necessary, in order to complete pavement preservation activities. Road and snow conditions vary from year to year, and these dates should not be relied upon to anticipate the actual road opening date. Weather and plowing conditions typically allow for a road opening to Logan Pass sometime between mid-June and mid-July.

In the fall of 2019, night work for pavement preservation is planned to begin on Sept. 2 on the Going-to-the-Sun Road with traffic control and intermittent night closures. A full closure will likely be in place from Sept. 16-29 between Avalanche and Logan Pass. Logan Pass will remain accessible from the St. Mary Entrance during this time period. Traffic control will be in place at Logan Pass so pavement preservation can occur in the Logan Pass parking lot. The road is anticipated to reopen in its entirety on Sept. 30 before its partial winter closure, scheduled this year for Oct. 21, 2019, weather dependent.

The park worked with the Federal Highway Administration to select a pavement preservation material that would be compatible with multiple road uses, including bicycle access.

In 2020, the park in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration will award a contract to finalize the multi-year rehabilitation work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Final work includes repairs to some masonry features, additional log rail replacement, and signing improvements.

Pavement preservation will not occur on most of the Many Glacier Road. That road is undergoing evaluation determine the effectiveness of a new drainage system before long-term improvements are attempted. The road is in poor condition.

However, last year with a donation from the Glacier National Park Conservancy, the park purchased a durapatcher that was able to temporarily repair some of the most significantly damaged areas.

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