Teton Pass reopens 3 weeks after landslide with help of temporary detour

A tour bus travels through Wyoming Highway 22/Teton Pass on Friday. The highway reopened with a small temporary detour that bypasses a section of the road that collapsed earlier this month.

A tour bus travels through Wyoming Highway 22/Teton Pass on Friday. The highway reopened with a small temporary detour that bypasses a section of the road that collapsed earlier this month. (Wyoming Department of Transportation)


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JACKSON, Wyo. — A vital highway linking Wyoming and Idaho communities has reopened three weeks after a massive landslide not far from Grand Teton National Park closed it.

Vehicles returned to Wyoming Highway 22/Teton Pass at noon Friday using a temporary detour to bypass the section that collapsed on June 8. Construction crews "worked around the clock" over the past three weeks to build the detour, Wyoming Department of Transportation officials said.

"While temporary, this detour safely reconnects communities and gives commuting families their valuable personal time back," Darin Westby, the agency's director, said in a statement.

The section of the highway near milepost 12.8 "catastrophically failed" amid mudslides and landslides that impacted the region during the first week of June. Pictures showed most of the land underneath the highway eroded at one of its turns.

Crews quickly got to work building a temporary route to shorten the time the highway was closed. The initial detour between Jackson, Wyoming and Victor, Idaho, added about an hour in each direction.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that vehicles will have to slow down to 20 mph through the temporary detour zone, which spans about 600-700 feet through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

The section that failed will be reconstructed, Wyoming transportation officials reiterated on Friday. Agency officials said the slide area will remain "continually monitored" as engineers and others work to redesign the roadway. The state is aiming to complete this rebuild "before the worst of winter arrives."

Wyoming officials added the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration have been "extremely supportive" with emergency funding. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued an emergency order in relation to the road collapse back on June 8.

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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