Yellowstone: Fishing Bridge Is Ready for Summer 2021
Written by Andrew-Rossi on May 5, 2021
After years of construction, the replacement and restoration project is complete and ready for a better future for the visitors and environment of Yellowstone.
Summer 2021 is already destined to be busy in Yellowstone National Park. In addition to the potential for another record-breaking year, park officials are embarking on several significant construction projects.
Work to repair and restore infrastructure will be underway at Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and the North Entrance at Gardiner. The road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village will remain closed for another year as the road is widened and pullouts are improved.
But one section of the park won’t be defined by delays and construction this summer: the corridor between the East Entrance and Fishing Bridge.
Construction on the Fishing Bridge/Pelican Creek Project was finished – on schedule – in October 2020. Now, the road will be completely free of construction-related hindrances.
“It looks fantastic,” says Cam Sholly, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “The teams did a phenomenal job. It was a multi-year project to replace aging infrastructure and address wetland issues. The viaduct’s in. The bridge is in. So it’s completed.”
Throughout the two-year, $75 million project, the aging infrastructure along the corridor was completed replaced. New bridges and a viaduct were built to replace the old road.
The actual Fishing Bridge was reconstructed under the purview of work. Other aspects of the project include improvements to piers and decks at Fishing Bridge, creating additional turn lanes, and constructing a larger parking lot at the Fishing Bridge General Store.
Construction simultaneously improved the roadway and restored critical habitat.
The viaduct was explicitly constructed to improve Pelican Creek. Since 1902, the wetland flow has been blocked by an artificial barrier created when the original road was constructed.
Now, for the first time in over a century, Pelican Creek will flow uninhibited, and the habitat will return to a more natural state.
Superintendent Sholly says park officials are aware of how the Fishing Bridge construction impacted Cody. But park officials and civic leaders found success in communication between the community and the park.
“I think that we did about as good a job as possible threading the needle with continuing to maintain the access, especially in the summer that Cody relies on, and getting that done on time and on schedule. We understand the projects that we’re doing in the park are impacting the gateway communities. And we do the best job that we can to plan to alleviate congestion and closures to the best degree possible. It’s a balancing act, but I think we did it very well, with our partners and with the community.”