Wyoming highway mountain pass reopens 3 weeks after landslide

Teton Pass connects Jackson, Wyoming, with Victor, Idaho. Much of the workforce in Jackson lives in the Idaho’s Teton Valley due to the cost of living.

JACKSON, Wyo. – Nearly three weeks after the catastrophic failure of the main highway connecting Wyoming to southeast Idaho, drivers are once again using the thoroughfare due to non-stop work by transportation officials.

A massive landslide on June 8 knocked out State Highway 22 that runs through the Teton Pass, which connects Jackson, Wyoming, with Victor, Idaho.

No one was on the highway when it collapsed due to a nearby mudslide, but the roadway was being closely monitored due to cracks that had formed in the days before.

The event forced drivers to take a detour of 85 miles around the collapse, a journey that took nearly two hours to complete.

Local residents said much of Jackson’s workforce lives in Idaho’s Teton Valley due to the high cost of living in the heavily touristed area.

"While temporary, this detour safely reconnects communities and gives commuting families their valuable personal time back," Darin Westby, the director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said in a statement.


The agency said the temporary roadway meets or exceeds minimum requirements of the Federal Highway Administration, but there are increased restrictions.

A 60,000-pound vehicle weight restriction is in place, and due to a steeper grade, the speed limit has been reduced to 20 mph.

National Weather Service meteorologists attributed heavy spring rainfall in combination with a significant snowmelt, which led to an increase in landslides and flooding.

Temperatures of 10-20 degrees above average caused the ice and snow at higher elevations to rapidly melt, filling rivers and drainage tributaries.

In addition to the road repairs, crews also said they also installed culverts and improved drainage to an area vulnerable to mudslides about 3 miles away.

"Our residents, commuting workforce and visitors – this road is open to you. I applaud everyone who has come together to solve this problem and help – that’s the Wyoming way," Governor Mark Gordon stated.


Transportation officials did not report any major delays following the reopening of the highway on Friday, despite it being the usual thoroughfare for thousands of commuters.

WYDOT says a permanent fix is still in the works, which it hopes to have in place by winter.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has released $6 million for the state’s efforts so far.

"The Teton Pass is a key route for workers and visitors traveling between Idaho and Wyoming, and the emergency funding we’re sending will help reopen and restore access to this important roadway as quickly as possible," U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently stated. "In discussing the situation with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, it has been clear how urgent the need is to support their efforts to reconnect one of the region’s heavily traveled mountain thoroughfares - and to make our infrastructure more resilient to future weather events."