Construction begins on Teton Pass temporary detour in Wyoming after landslide

Wyoming Department of Transportation officials say a temporary detour around Teton Pass could be open within two weeks. Recreation areas on the Jackson side of Teton Pass are open.

A temporary detour around Teton Pass is under construction days after a landslide catastrophically destroyed a section of the popular route between Wyoming and Idaho

On Saturday morning, the Wyoming Department of Transportation said a landslide consumed part of State Highway 22 at milepost 12.8, which connects the resort region with communities around Victor, Idaho. No vehicles were on the highway at the time of the collapse due to a previous mudslide at milepost 15 that shut down part of the highway.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued an emergency declaration after the collapse.


On Tuesday, WYDOT said it awarded Evans Construction a $430,000 contract and that the company was already working on the temporary detour, as seen in the images below. It's estimated the detour could be completed in about two weeks. 

"Currently, WYDOT geologists and engineers are confident they can build a safe, temporary detour around the slide area using local fill material and paving two temporary lanes," WYDOT said.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies taken on Tuesday show the ongoing work at Teton Pass. 

The highway is a direct route to and from Idaho and two popular national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Many who work in Jackson Hole use Teton Pass to commute to and from the area. Without a direct route, a 30-minute commute takes at least 1 hour and 35 minutes. 

Recreation areas open near Teton Pass slide

Despite the road closure, U.S. Forest Service and WYDOT officials are working to provide access to hiking and recreation locations around the slide area. According to WYDOT, trails on the east side of the pass are open and can be accessed from the Trail Creek trailhead at the end of Old Pass Road.

"WYDOT asks recreationists to stay on the Jackson side of the pass and to please not descend west toward the slide path," the department said. 

WYDOT engineers and geologists continue investigating the cause of the Teton Pass landslide to develop a long-term repair plan. 

"WYDOT geology crews have been drilling into the slide area and investigating the soil profiles to confirm the cause of the landslide and to collect better data for potential reconstruction," the department said. 

Crews are also managing the mudslide at milepost 15, where teams are working to install a box culvert. The goal is to complete the culvert when the road opens with the detour for milepost 12.8.

The forecast over the coming days will benefit crews working on the detour and investigating the landslide. By Thursday and Friday, high temperatures will reach the 80s for Wilson, Wyoming, outside where the pass is closed. 

Gordon said there are alternative routes to Teton Pass, and people should still plan to visit Wyoming.

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

WYDOT advised travelers to sign up for updates from 511 Notify for the latest road conditions and closures.