2020 Yellowstone Road Construction

There will be three major road construction projects in Yellowstone in 2020. One project will have a complete closure between Tower Fall and Chittenden Road, while two projects will cause delays at the North Entrance and Fishing Bridge to Indian Pond.
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Map of road construction in Yellowstone in 2020

Tower Fall to Chittenden Road

Improvements: This 6-mile segment of road remains largely unchanged since the last improvements in the 1930s. This construction project will widen the road and provide additional/improved pullouts; create a larger, safer parking area at Tower Fall General Store; and improve the trail and overlook for Tower Fall. To fund this project, the park received a grant through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands Program and will match it with fee dollars collected in the park.

Access: The road between Tower Fall and Chittenden Road will be completely closed until April 2022. Specific areas on each side of this closure will be open for select time periods:

  • On the Canyon Village side of the closure: The only way to access the peak of Mount Washburn during construction is via the Canyon Village side of the closure. The Mount Washburn trail and trailhead parking lot near Dunraven Pass will be open during construction. The Chittenden Road and parking area will be open from June-August, but this road and parking area will be closed at select time periods before Memorial Day and after Labor Day (dates to be determined).
  • On the Tower-Roosevelt side of the closure: Tower Fall, the Tower General Store, Tower Fall Campground, and Calcite Springs will be open and accessible from Tower-Roosevelt between June 5-September 6, 2020 and June 4-September 26, 2021. In the winters, Tower Fall and trails in the vicinity will be open for skis and snowshoes, snow-permitting, from early November through March. Between the following dates, traffic and pedestrians from Tower-Roosevelt will be turned around at Calcite Springs: April 1-June 5, 2020; September 6-November 7, 2020; April 1-June 4, 2021; and September 26-November 6, 2021. There will be no access to the trails for Mount Washburn from the Tower-Roosevelt side of the closure.

North Entrance

Improvements: The North Entrance is not equipped to meet the challenges of increasing visitation and traffic. This construction will add an additional lane and kiosk to improve traffic flow and reduce lines; replace the existing two buildings with one larger building/station and two kiosks; improve the flow of employee and delivery traffic from Robert Reamer Avenue; improve pedestrian safety by realigning parking along Robert Reamer Avenue; and replace the water line along Robert Reamer Avenue. Funding for this project comes from the Federal Highways Administration, Yellowstone Forever, the National Park Foundation, and fees collected in the park.

Access: Beginning in early summer, expect delays around the North Entrance. The entrance station will be open. More details, including dates, will be available after a construction contractor is selected. This project will start in 2020 and take two years.

Fishing Bridge to Indian Pond

Improvements: Along this section of road, an earthen causeway has been in place since 1902 limiting Pelican Creek’s ability to flow naturally. Construction in 2020 will replace the Pelican Creek bridge and causeway with a viaduct to allow the wetland and creek to flow freely again. Crews will also put the finishing touches on work that started in 2018 to improve the deck, piers, and abutment of Fishing Bridge; add turn lanes to the facilities at Fishing Bridge; construct a larger, improved parking area to the east of the General Store; and widen the road and add/improve pullouts. Funding for this project comes from the Federal Highways Administration.

Access: From May 4 to October 30, 2020, expect delays along the East Entrance Road between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond. Read updated newsletters about the project status at https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/wy/east-entrance/. This project will be completed in 2020.

Chip Sealing

Chip sealing occurs every summer and preserves Yellowstone's roads. Check the park's live road map at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm to see where chip sealing is scheduled to occur and plan for delays of up to 30 minutes. Dates can change due to weather. Drive slowly and maintain the recommended speed limit on chip seal pavement to reduce the risk of loose gravel damaging cars or windshields.

Related

Damage to Firehole Lake Drive. Photo by NPS

Yellowstone Roads - Are They Melting?

Firehole Lake Drive, a side road to the Grand Loop Road, was closed for a few days due to the asphalt "melting." A 16-mile portion of the Grand Loop is also being repaired and plans are to move the road.