The Flathead Valley knows the traditional signs of spring, with the melting snow and longer, warmer days, but the seasons haven’t really changed until the plows start the Herculean task of clearing Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
The plows started their work last week, attempting to dig through snow on the park’s east side on Two Medicine Road and Chief Mountain Road. Work on the road’s west side is expected to start on April 1.
According to Lauren Alley, spokesperson for Glacier Park, plowing is expected to begin on west Camas on April 1, and head to the west section of Going-to-the-Sun Road later in the week. Crews on the east side of the park will start plowing toward Many Glacier and the east section of Going-to-the-Sun Road this week as well.
Glacier Park launches a $9 million pavement preservation project this year in order to improve park roads, including Going-to-the-Sun Road. The preservation includes a protective coating, similar to a chip seal. Other roads receiving this treatment include Chief Mountain Road, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn Loop and parking lot, the west portion of Camas Road, and the Apgar Village Loop.
This type of construction work is recommended every seven years, and park officials have said the treatment protects the $200 million investment in the Sun Road, which has undergone a rehabilitation project over the last 10 years.
With preservation tasks beginning this year, Going-to-the-Sun Road will not open to Logan Pass until June 22, and not until June 22 in 2020, if necessary.
Road and snow conditions change 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.