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Teton Pass closed again – this time due to massive mudslides

An early morning mudslide closed Teton Pass for the second time in less than 24 hours on Friday. The Wyoming Department of Transportation closed that stretch of Wyoming Highway 22 at 4:16 a.m. with no estimated time for reopening.

Stephanie Harsha, a spokeswoman for WYDOT District 3, said the mudslide occurred at mile marker 15 on Highway 22. WYDOT highway crews continue to remove mud and debris from both lanes of the highway, but they are “at the mercy of Mother Nature at this time.” “

“Every time they start clearing that debris, more and more comes down,” she told Cowboy State Daily Friday morning. “They will continue to clean as it comes down.”

As of 9 a.m. Friday, Harsha said there was still no estimated time for reopening.

“I don’t believe there’s any damage to the road, but that remains to be seen until they can clear the road,” she said. “But most likely that is not the case.”

Wider crack

But it was certainly significant damage that prompted WYDOT to close the same stretch of highway over the pass Thursday, when a large two-lane crack formed and created an 8-inch plank in the road. After assessing the damage, the pass was reopened.

The closure of the mudslide has now given WYDOT crews another chance to evaluate That.

“There has been some movement since yesterday, which has damaged the patch we have,” Harsha said. “Right now they’re investigating how much movement has occurred and what they can do to make that road passable, but it remains to be seen until they can do further investigation.”

Harsha said it’s possible that evaluating and repairing the crack could delay the reopening of Teton Pass even after mudslide debris is cleared.

“Until we hear from them what can be done in the meantime to get that part of the roadway reopened, the closure will remain in effect,” she said. “We are currently in a holding pattern.”

A mudslide around 4:20 a.m. Thursday morning closed Wyoming Highway 22 over the Teton Pass at mile marker 15.  The closure comes less than 24 after a major two-lane crack in the highway's pavement closed the pass for a few hours.
A mudslide around 4:20 a.m. Thursday morning closed Wyoming Highway 22 over the Teton Pass at mile marker 15. The closure comes less than 24 after a major two-lane crack in the highway’s pavement closed the pass for a few hours. (WYDOT Teton County via Facebook)

Commuter Take note

WYDOT’s engineers and geology teams will submit their assessment of the cracks on Wyoming Highway 22, which will help develop interim and long-term solutions. Harsha said commuters should anticipate more temporary closures in the coming days and weeks.

The fastest way to get updates on the status of Teton Pass is WYDOT’s 511 app. Drivers can sign up to receive text and email updates about specific roads and highways, including Highway 22.

“Anytime that part of the roadway is closed or there are restrictions, they get a text message notification,” Harsha said. “That’s the best and fastest way to get information about that area.”

Andreas Rossi can be reached at [email protected].

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