Early-morning visitors to the West Glacier entrance of Glacier National Park this summer will encounter construction closures along Lake McDonald that may limit plans for pre-dawn alpine starts.
A long-awaited utilities project will replace seven miles of sewer force main, electrical and telephone lines between Apgar and Lake McDonald Lodge, as well as replacing the lift station at the lodge to reduce the threat of sewage overflow.
“Although there will be some inconvenience this summer, in the long-term the project will be a great benefit,” Kate Hammond, acting superintendent for Glacier National Park, said in a press release. “This project is long overdue, and our staff has worked hard to secure the funding to replace antiquated and out-of-date equipment, which in turn will protect park resources.”
Construction will begin on June 1 at 10 p.m. and extend throughout the summer season into September. Work will be conducted at night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a nighttime closure in place along Going-to-the-Sun Road from the south end of the lake near Apgar campground to Sprague Creek Campground. No vehicles will be able to use the road from the west prior to 6 a.m., but access to Logan Pass via the main artery through Glacier will still be possible through the St. Mary entrance on the eastern side of the park.
At midnight, there will be a window when vehicles will be piloted through construction.
For the second year, Glacier is utilizing a vehicle reservation system from May 27 through Sept. 11 for access to Going-to-the-Sun Road, as well as the North Fork Road via the Polebridge Entrance Station from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can enter the park after 4 p.m. without a reservation.
Road crews began the daunting task of snow removal from Going-to-the-Sun Road on April 4, and park staff is currently estimated the road will fully open towards the end of June. Visitors can currently drive to Lake McDonald Lodge from the west and Rising Sun on the east.