Teton Pass Road Suffers Catastrophic Failure, Major Artery Through the Rockies Severed

A massive mudslide in the Teton Pass has wiped out a sector of highway connecting Jackson, Wyoming, and the Idaho border.

Saturday’s mudslide capped a three-day battle between highway crews and the Rocky Mountains pass, according to KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah.

On Thursday, cracks along Wyoming State Route 22 were noticed and patched. According to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, the road dropped eight inches in some places. The road was temporarily closed but later reopened.

On Friday, the road suffered a one-two punch as a mudslide covered part of the surface while sections of the dirt under the road disappeared, KUTV reported.


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Then came Saturday’s knockout blow.

“The roadway at milepost 12.8 on Teton Pass, has catastrophically failed, and a long-term closure is expected,” the Wyoming Department of Transportation announced in a Facebook post.

Crews “were working in the area to construct a detour around the damage, but the landslide continued to move, taking out the whole road. No crews were hurt in the process, and no equipment was damaged,” the agency stated.

In a statement Saturday, according to KUTV, Wyoming DOT Director Darin Westby said stopping the mudslide was beyond what crews could do.

”We understand this highway is a lifeline for commuters, deliveries, medical care access and tourism, especially with limited alternatives and the summer season upon us,” Westby said.

“WYDOT engineers, surveyors and geologists mobilized quickly to try to maintain highway viability as long as possible, but catastrophic failure could not be avoided,” he said.


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“WYDOT remains on site decisively engaged on fixing the road and restoring connectivity to the Teton Valley. Safety is our utmost priority, and we ask that recreationists and curious residents avoid the area until it can be stabilized,” he said.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said in a Facebook post that there is no estimate of when the road will be reopened.

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“This morning I met with state officials from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to coordinate a response to the catastrophic landslide that has closed Teton Pass,” he wrote Saturday.

“I am grateful for the efforts of WYDOT staff to protect public safety during this developing situation, and am thankful no one was injured during this incident,” he wrote.

“At this point, we do not have an estimated timeline for the road to reopen. I recognize the impacts this closure has to Teton County residents, regional commuters and the local economy, and we are in direct communication with local officials. We will continue to provide updates on the road status as additional information becomes available,” he said.

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