WYDOT works to keep Snake River and Hoback canyons open
February 10, 2017
The Wyoming Department of Transportation reopened the Snake River Canyon on Friday, Feb. 10, and continues work on reopening the Hoback Canyon.
Crews reopened Snake River Canyon (US 26-89), west of Hoback Junction, around 10 a.m.
Hoback Canyon (US 189-191), south of Jackson and southeast of Hoback Junction, is expected to reopen shortly. That section of road reopened earlier on Friday, but crews had to reclose it after another avalanche occurred.
The area is experiencing avalanche activity because of warmer temperatures and increased precipitation. Due to conditions in the area, the threat of avalanches is high, which could result in the closure of those roads at any time. Both road sections closed earlier this week because of avalanches.
Teton Pass (WYO 22), between the Idaho state line and Jackson, remains closed. Crews are working on this road while also maintaining Snake River Canyon and Hoback Canyon. WYDOT officials expect Teton Pass will reopen Sunday, Feb. 12.
To help with avalanche mitigation, crews performed a controlled slide on the Glory Bowl path on Teton Pass on Friday afternoon using an oxygen/propane gas mixture that explodes near the snow. The explosion moves the snow down the mountain so crews can clear the excess to prevent additional avalanches.
"That slide was about 150 to 200 feet wide and between 25 to 30 feet tall," said Bruce Daigle, maintenance foreman in Jackson. "We encountered more snow on Glory Bowl and the twin slides than expected so we have our work cut out for us from now until Saturday."
The National Weather Service has issued an avalanche warning until 1 a.m. Saturday for the Jackson area. That means avalanche danger is still extremely high, but weather conditions are forecasted to improve today with decreasing temperatures, wind and rain.
WYDOT crews are working to clear and maintain the roads. The department sent additional personnel and equipment from Laramie and Casper to the area to assist in clearing the highways. Wyoming Highway Patrol officials also sent additional personnel to assist troopers and WYDOT crews.
WYDOT officials are recommending residents and commuters plan ahead, allow themselves ample time to reach their destinations and obey all advisories and closures.
Motorists can check the latest road conditions by visiting WYDOT’s 511 Travel Information Map, www.wyoroad.info.