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Wyoming highway collapse: Massive landslide at Teton Pass road


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Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said progress has been made to repair the mountain pass road between Jackson and Idaho.

JACKSON, Wyo. — Transportation officials in Wyoming and Idaho are working together to find a way to repair a mountain pass that suffered a catastrophic collapse.

A large portion of twisting Wyoming State Highway 22 collapsed in Wyoming on Saturday, leaving a gap between towns in eastern Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming.

Aerial photos and drone video of the collapse show the Teton Pass road riven with deep cracks and a big section of the pavement disappeared altogether. The road was closed at the time of the collapse.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) said its crews are assisting the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) at the pass, which is close to the popular Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday that a plan is coming to repair the mountain pass road.

Gordon issued an emergency declaration order as traffic officials work to find a solution. Gordon’s office said the order will help the state get additional resources from the Federal Highway Administration to begin repair work.

“We’ve got top crews from WY department of transportation, Gov. [Brad] Little from Idaho has provided help as well,” Gordon said. “We are looking at all the options we have, of course, that’s pretty obvious catastrophic failure, so that’s why I asked for the emergency declaration.”

“They called immediately, we started on our side and they started on theirs,” said Lucas Richins, ITD operations foreman. “It was a good team effort. We’re here to support on our side however we can to make it less strenuous.”

Richins said that seven ITD dump trucks hauled 80 to 90 loads of material from the landslide on Friday and Saturday.

The section of road that collapsed first drew attention when a crack and drop in the road contributed to the crash of a motorcycle on Thursday. A paving crew temporarily patched the road and traffic began moving again that night.

But that was short-lived as maintenance crews were sent to respond to a mudslide a couple of miles away in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, prompting the road to be closed once again.

Crews then noticed that the damage to the mountain pass road had become more pronounced. WYDOT discovered that the road had completely failed on Saturday while the road was closed.

“We were very, very lucky that no crews were harmed. No equipment was damaged,” said Stephanie Harsha, WYDOT spokesperson. “So now, engineers and geologists are doing geological assessments on the pass.”

WYDOT said Wyoming State Highway 22 “catastrophically failed” at milepost 12.8.

It was not immediately clear how long it will take to reopen the road, a vital artery for people who live across the border in Idaho and work in Jackson.

Harsha said an alternate 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.”

“A lot of the workforce in Jackson lives in Idaho, so this is a real inconvenience,” Gordon said. “But I do believe we are working as aggressively as we can to resolve the issues in a timely fashion.”

“People shouldn’t change their plans just because of this,” Gordon said. “It’s important to know we are addressing this. Maybe a little bit of delay but the summer is up and running and it’s a great time to come to Wyoming.”

RELATED: Large chunk of Teton Pass road collapses in Wyoming


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Wyoming highway collapse: Massive landslide at Teton Pass road

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