YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - The North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park is now open to general traffic, ahead of a scheduled Nov. 1 opening date.
In an announcement on Sunday, park officials said the final work on the road, the painting of road stripes, was completed on Saturday, Oct. 29, allowing the road to open ahead of schedule.
As recently as Saturday, YNP said the road would not reopen until Tuesday at 8 a.m.
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Also on Saturday, Park Superintendent Cam Sholly hosted a dedication ceremony for the nearly-complete, newly-repaired Old Gardiner Road that connects the North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs.
Sholly praised the support from Montana, Wyoming, and the Federal Highway Administration for help in completing new roads on the north side of the park. He said he was proud of the work the team completed, citing the new four-mile road with 1,000 feet elevation gain in mountainous terrain as a huge accomplishment in less than five months.
“I can’t tell you the emotion I feel and how proud I am of the work that everybody has done to get us to this point,” Sholly said. “When we come together and we put our mind to things, we can get a lot done.”
YNP says the new road opens with some cautionary warnings:
- The road contains steep grades and sharp curves.
- Speed limits range from 15 to 25 miles per hour.
- There are no length or weight restrictions, but oversized vehicles or those pulling trailers must use caution in the curves.
- Road construction work will continue and may cause short delays along the route.
The East, South, and West entrances to the park are due to close Tuesday morning, Nov. 1. That’s a routine seasonal closing to allow snow to build up before the winter re-opening to over-snow vehicles on Dec. 15.
Yellowstone waived entrance fees to the park on Sunday and Monday to celebrate the early opening.