Planned Closure of Going-to-the-Sun Road to Begin Sept. 16

Alpine portion of west side of road to be shut for two weeks as park begins transition into fall season

By Andy Viano
Road construction along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Beacon File Photo

Going-to-the-Sun Road will be closed to vehicle traffic between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass from Sept. 16-29 as crews continue a pavement preservation project on the iconic Glacier National Park thoroughfare.

Some hiker and biker access to the closed portion of Sun Road may be possible at times, but park officials say access will only be permitted based on weather conditions and construction progress. Hikers and bikers could be allowed to use the road on days when the pavement treatment is curing, according to a press release.

Logan Pass will still be accessible from the east via the St. Mary entrance during the upcoming closure. If conditions allow, the entire 50-mile length of the road is scheduled reopen on Sept. 30. Shuttle service on Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently operating on a reduced schedule (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and will end for the season on Sept. 15. Up-to-date information on closures and restrictions can be found on the park’s Road Status page at www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.

The possibility of this month’s temporary closure was first made public in February when the park revealed a $9 million project to put a protective coating, similar to a chip seal, on a number of Glacier National Park roads, including the Sun Road, Chief Mountain Road, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn Loop, a portion of Camas Road, and other small roads and parking lots. The work began this spring and will conclude in 2020.

The pavement preservation project comes on the heels of a decade-long $200 million reconstruction project that rebuilt Going-to-the-Sun Road. That project was completed earlier this summer.

Going-to-the-Sun Road opened in its entirety on June 22 this year and the alpine section of the road will close no later than mid-October for winterization. The precise date of Going-to-the-Sun Road’s annual closure is dependent on road and snow conditions.

Park visitation drops steeply after Labor Day, so many of the park’s services are winding down for the season as well. Access to Glacier Park’s campgrounds no longer requires a reservation and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, although many campgrounds revert to primitive status, meaning running water will not be available. The park’s visitor centers at St. Mary and Logan Pass will close for the year later this fall, and the Apgar Visitor Center will be open only on weekends. Hotels and other services offered by the park’s concessioners also either close or significantly reduce their operating hours this month. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/glac/getinvolved/concessioners.com.

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