Crazy photos show ‘catastrophic collapse’ of major road near Yellowstone

Crazy photos show ‘catastrophic collapse’ of major road near Yellowstone


A massive chunk of a major road into Jackson, Wyoming — the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons — crumbled away in a landslide just as the busy summer tourist season is kicking off.

Dramatic photos captured the gradual collapse of the Teton Pass road, which went from having a few small cracks to losing a large chunk of the pavement completely in a matter of days.

It began on Thursday when Wyoming Route 22 briefly closed as crews worked to repair a crack and drop to the road that had contributed to the crash of a motorcycle.

Geologists and engineers sent to examine the road noticed “that crack and that drop started to move a lot,” according to Stephanie Harsha, a spokesperson for District 3 of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

A paving crew temporarily patched the road and it reopened later that night.

A massive chunk of a major Wyoming mountain road fell away in a landslide. AP

However, the road’s troubles only worsened Friday morning when it was shut once again due to a dramatic mudslide, the Wyoming Department of Transportation wrote on social media.

Crews then noticed that the roadway’s damage had become more pronounced. Photos shared by the Department of Transportation show major cracks, but mere hours later the road had “catastrophically failed.”

Teton Pass road went from having several small cracks to falling off the mountain in a landslide. AP

“We were very, very lucky that no crews were harmed. No equipment was damaged,” Harsha said. “So now, engineers and geologists are doing geological assessments on the pass. They’ve been looking at it all day.”

It was not immediately clear how long it would take to reopen the highway, which is a vital road for people who live across the border in Idaho and work in Jackson, a popular tourist attraction that serves at the gateway for many visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Department of Transportation Director Darin Westby addressed these concerns in a statement and said that the catastrophic failure could not have been avoided.

It was not immediately clear how long the roadway would be closed. AP

”We understand this highway is a lifeline for commuters, deliveries, medical care access and tourism, especially with limited alternatives and the summer season upon us. WYDOT engineers, surveyors and geologists mobilized quickly to try to maintain highway viability as long as possible, but catastrophic failure could not be avoided,” Westby said.

“WYDOT remains on site decisively engaged on fixing the road and restoring connectivity to the Teton Valley. Safety is our utmost priority, and we ask that recreationists and curious residents avoid the area until it can be stabilized.”

An alternative route between Jackson and the area of Victor, Idaho, goes more than 60 miles out of the way and adds “quite a bit to any commute,” Harsha said.

Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order declaring an emergency, which his office says will help the state access additional resources from the Federal Highway Administration to begin necessary repair work.

With Post wires.

Isabel Keane

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