The closed portion of the Gros Ventre /Kelly Road in Grand Teton National Park is anticipated to open to alternating one-lane of traffic in the affected area within the next two weeks. Park engineers, in consultation with subject-matter experts with Federal Highway Administration and a local geotechnical firm, are assessing the road and nearby erosion, and believe one-lane traffic can be safely and efficiently managed through the currently closed section of roadway. The plan includes an automated traffic signal which will alternate east-bound and west-bound one-way traffic for vehicles and bicycles.
Wyoming Department of Transportation and Teton County Engineering/Roads Department have also been involved with consulting and providing road barriers in response to this incident.
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “We plan to open the Gros Ventre Road as soon as we safely can to one-lane of traffic. We know the road closure has impacts to many, and we are doing our best to safely re-establish this vital transportation link within the park.”
Vela said the park will host a public open house to share information about the upcoming actions and planned strategies to provide one-lane of traffic, as well as subsequent stabilization efforts and long-term repairs on the river bank. The public is invited to join National Park Service employees on Tuesday, June 20, anytime between 5-6:30 p.m. at the Kelly School in Kelly, Wyoming.
The Gros Ventre/Kelly Road is located along and near the Gros Ventre River near the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park. Since June 6, approximately 4.5 miles of the road has been closed from the Gros Ventre Junction with US Highway 26/89/191 to the Gros Ventre Campground due to significant erosion along the Gros Ventre River that threatened the integrity of the road. Currently, traffic to the community of Kelly and the Gros Ventre Campground, as well as other locations in the area, is rerouted via Antelope Flats Road. All detours are signed along the roadways.
More than 20 feet of the riverbank has eroded this spring due to substantial water runoff. The eroded river bank is immediately adjacent to a section of the road, located approximately 2 miles east of the Gros Ventre Junction. The National Park Service installed streambank armoring at this location to avert this from occurring in the past, however, the dynamic and braided nature of the river course changed quickly and dramatically this spring. Monitoring of the area will continue. According to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the snowpack in the Gros Ventre Range and other areas that melt into the Gros Ventre River System received the highest amount of precipitation this year compared to the last 36 years.
The Gros Ventre Campground is open and available for first-come, first-served overnight camping. During the road closure, access to the campground is via the Antelope Flats Road, which is approximately ½ mile north of Moose Junction. The Antelope Flats Road provides access to Mormon Row as well. There is no through vehicle traffic on Mormon Row or Warm Ditch Roads, although, bicycles are allowed.