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Biking the Sun Road to open May 5

by Hungry Horse News
| March 22, 2023 2:00 AM

Glacier National Park Monday said it expects folks will be able to drive to Lake McDonald Lodge by 6 a.m. May 5, though the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be rough as it’s under construction. Meanwhile some park secondary roads will be closed or see delays due to bridge reconstruction, the park said in a release.

The Sun Road announcement puts a firm date on when folks can expect to be able to hike and bike the highway beyond the gate — which is a popular spring activity.

The utilities project from the foot of the lake to the lodge is expected to be completed by May 15, but then the road will be reconstructed from Lake McDonald to North Lake McDonald Road through the summer. Folks should expect up to half hour delays.

The park is also doing construction work on 13 bridges this year.

This is the continuation of a two-year project that began last summer. 

Due to bridge construction and road conditions, all roads in the North Fork area of the park are expected to be closed to vehicle traffic until May 25. Early season work is proposed to complete bridge approach excavations in the Spring. All spring work is dependent on weather conditions and site accessibility. 

The Bowman, Kintla, Akokala and Ford bridges, located in the North Fork, are anticipated to have short delays May 26 to early September. Kintla, Akokala and Ford bridges will likely be closed to all traffic starting Sept. 5 through mid-November.

The Bowman Bridge is expected to be closed to all traffic Sept. 11 through mid-November. The park anticipates visitors will not have access to Bowman and Kintla areas during the construction closures, including campgrounds and trailheads. In addition to the Bridge Preservation Project, road crews will also be grading the last five miles of the road to Kintla Lake July through fall 2023. Visitors need to use caution as there will be heavy truck traffic and minor delays. Roads in the North Fork area typically close at the end of November due to winter conditions. 

If early season work is completed in spring, Bowman Creek Bridge will only require a short duration closure in the fall. 

The Fish Creek Bridge will be paved in late May before Fish Creek Campground opens for the season. The bridge is anticipated to have limited delays in traffic until its expected closure to motorized, pedestrian, and bicycle access May 1 through May 25.

The North Fork Bridge, located on the north end of Camas Road, will be resurfaced and the roadway leading up to the bridge will be milled, paved, and graded. Work on the North Fork Bridge is expected to start in April and go through late fall 2023. Visitors should expect short delays when crossing the bridge. 

The Lee Creek Bridge, located along Chief Mountain Highway, will have short delays starting September through late fall 2023. 

Since the last construction season, work has been substantially completed on the Anaconda, Camas, Dutch Creek, Quartz and Logging Creek bridges located on the Inside North Fork Road.  

Improvements to the bridges include bridge deck and approach repairs, timber pile replacement and repairs, timber curb replacement, painting, concrete repair, erosion control measures, and more. The work is being completed to preserve the existing bridges and ensure continued usage by preventing failure which would require full bridge replacement, the park said in a release.