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WEST GLACIER (KPAX TV) — Be prepared for some gridlock if you want to go to Glacier National Park anytime soon.
It’s not even the peak of tourist season yet, and officials say there is already traffic congestion.
It wasn’t even 10 a.m. on a recent day and we saw people pouring into Glacier National Park and parking lots quickly filling up.
“So, we’ve seen gridlock on the road rather frequently this year,” said Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley.
The week of Father’s Day the park had to temporarily close Going to the Sun Road at the foot of Lake McDonald because of this gridlock Alley was talking about.
The park saw almost three million visitors last year, but some of this year’s delays are caused by pavement preservation.
“Reconstruction is very costly and is very impactful to the general public because it takes a long time to do sections of the road,” Federal Highway Preservation Senior Engineer Chris Rossmiller explained.
Because of the million dollar project, Alley says traffic will stop leading to Going to the Sun Road and visitors should expect wait times of 30 minutes or more.
If you’re interested in Logan Pass, Alley says it’s best to plan for other hiking options.
“If the parking lot is so full that people are circulating and there’s really no more room to move those parking lot attendants will start waving people by,” she explained. “So, if the parking lot is full consider driving on down the road. Check out another point.”
The park has a brand new tool for your planning — a monitor that shows real-time weather and parking availability around the park.
Alley suggests planning ahead for traffic.
Visitors should pack snacks and locate nearby restrooms in case you are stuck in traffic for an extended period of time.
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Mark R Thorsell