The Entire Beartooth Highway Opens July 22

The Entire Beartooth Highway Opens July 22 (For Real This Time)

Written by on July 20, 2022

Extensive repairs on the Montana side of U.S. 212 are finished, and the Beartooth Highway can finally reopen for Summer 2022, and this time – hopefully – it will stay open.

To say Summer 2022 has been unorthodox is a tremendous understatement. Extreme weather has created such dangerous conditions that the flow of summer tourism has been completely altered. In some cases, entire communities have been isolated as roads closed or simply disappeared.

Thankfully, another road is ready to reopen.

After extensive work, the full extent of the Beartooth Highway will reopen to two-way traffic between Cookie City and Red Lodge, Montana, on Friday, July 22.

The Montana Department of Transportation made the announcement on Tuesday, July 19. Road repair work undertaken by M.D.O.T. and Riverside Contracting is “ahead of schedule” and should be finished by the Friday opening.

“Special thanks to the teams that worked so hard to get the repair work completed!” M.D.O.T. said in a Facebook post.

Courtesy Montana Department of Transportation

The full extent of the Beartooth Highway has been open for only five days in 2022.

U.S. 212 has been a volatile summit of weather this summer. As a result, the highway has already closed twice in 2022.

  • May 27 (11 a.m.) – The Beartooth Highway opens for the summer season
  • May 27 (5 p.m.) – Winter weather conditions force the Beartooth Highway to close
  • June 9 – After extensive snowplowing, the Beartooth Highway opens again
  • June 13 – The Beartooth Highway completely closes, along with all roads in Yellowstone National Park, due to a massive flood event.

The tremendous flooding of mid-June didn’t affect both sides of the Beartooth Highway equally. While there was extensive damage on the Montana side of U.S. 212, the Wyoming side was safe enough that it partially reopened – with a dead end – on June 27. Thankfully, the damage on the Montana side was enough for M.D.O.T. and a contractor to handle in a short amount of time.

Quick repairs are not an option in Yellowstone National Park. Park officials estimate it will take three to five years before road repair will be completely finished.

While the Beartooth Highway may be accessible, there are still daily closures on the Wyoming side for construction, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

Intense construction projects – including a 420-foot, $27 million bridge – are underway to improve the road’s safety and traffic flow. The construction will also improve the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by allowing the region’s wildlife to move more easily.

The nighttime closures are “hard closures” – no traffic allowed either way for the entire 12-hour period. There will be no nighttime closures Friday through Sunday.

 


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