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WYDOT aims to rebuild Teton Pass by November. Construction of a temporary detour is underway.

Drone footage shows a highway making a 180 degree turn, with a big chunk of roadway missing. Bulldozers are clearing a detour to the inside of the turn.
Wyoming Department of Transportation
The Wyoming Department of Transportation aims to rebuild the collapsed section of the highway over Teton Pass by November while crews work on a temporary detour.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) said it hopes to complete a rebuild of the collapsed section of the Teton Pass roadway by November at an emergency Wyoming Transportation Commission meeting on June 11.

In the meantime, a $430,000 contract was approved to build a detour that’s expected to be completed in two weeks, weather permitting, according to a press release.

In a unanimous decision, governor-appointed state transportation commissioners approved the WYDOT contract with Evans Construction to build the detour. The detour, which will run to the side of the landslide through part of Caribou-Targhee National Forest, is expected to be open in two weeks as crews work around the clock.

“We just want to get moving on this contract as fast as possible,” said WYDOT Director Darin Westby

The planned detour will be a rudimentary fix with a weight limit and trailer restrictions. Any vehicle over 60,000 pounds or with a trailer will be restricted from using the detour allowing most buses but no campers or semis.

In addition to the detour, Westby said a complete rebuild of the roadway is planned to be complete by November. However, the planning process is still underway, with no proposed design or cost estimate as of now.

Some state transportation commissioners had reservations about rebuilding in the same area where the landslide occurred. Commissioner Mark Hughes said WYDOT officials are going to have to convince him that the road will be safe and that it’ll last.

“Why would we want to put the road back there?” Hughes asked. “It makes no sense to me. It looks like it's just going to happen all over again someday.”

Westby told commissioners that engineers and geologists are ensuring a safe rebuild and detour. He added that any other options, like a tunnel some community members have called for, were deemed too expensive and impractical.

He plans to call another emergency meeting this week to ask for approval of another contract to finish the cleanup of a separate mudslide that happened a few miles away up Wyoming Highway 22 and before the collapse. Rebuild plans will be proposed to commissioners in a future meeting after they complete the design, estimate and bid process.

Dante Filpula Ankney comes to KHOL as a lifelong resident of the Mountain West. He made his home on the plains of Eastern Montana before moving to the Western Montana peaks to study journalism and wilderness studies. Dante has found success producing award-winning print, audio and video stories for a variety of publications, including a stint as a host at Montana Public Radio. Most recently, he spent a year teaching English in Bulgaria through a Fulbright Fellowship. When he isn’t reporting, you can find Dante outside scaling rocks, sliding across snow or winning a game of cribbage.