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Teton Pass: ‘Catastrophic landslide’ closes critical mountain highway between Wyoming and Idaho



CNN
 — 

A critical highway linking Idaho and Wyoming has closed indefinitely after a portion of the road cracked and then collapsed in a “catastrophic landslide” Saturday, officials said.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said in a post on Facebook there is no estimated timeline for reopening Teton Pass, which links Victor, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyoming.

The initial crack appeared Thursday morning across both lanes of travel, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) said in a post on Facebook at the time.

The crack across lanes dropped vertically roughly 8 inches in some places, causing unsafe driving conditions. A patch was put in place and traffic resumed until a mudslide in a different location on Friday closed the road.

Saturday morning, the roadway where the initial crack happened collapsed, WYDOT said, adding that the roadway had “catastrophically failed, and a long term closure is expected.”

“WYDOT crews, along with contract crews from Evans Construction, were working in the area to construct a detour around the damage, but the landslide continued to move, taking out the whole road,” WYDOT added. “No crews were hurt in the process, and no equipment was damaged.”

Gordon said Saturday that he had met with WYDOT and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security officials to coordinate a response to the “catastrophic landslide.”

“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,” the governor said.

A separate mudslide closed the road on June 7, 2024.

Work to repair the cracked roadway and mudslide had been anticipated to last into Saturday, according to the Department of Transportation, and then the cracked section of the roadway collapsed.

“WYDOT engineers, surveyors and geologists mobilized quickly to try to maintain highway viability as long as possible, but catastrophic failure could not be avoided. WYDOT remains on site decisively engaged on fixing the road and restoring connectivity to the Teton Valley,” WYDOT Director Darin Westby said in a statement.

WYDOT says it is reviewing long term solutions and repairs to the highway and Westby urged the public to stay away from the site until it was stabilized.

The Teton Pass corridor “serves as a critical commuter route and facilitates the transport of goods and services that are lifelines to the growing regional economies in Wyoming and Idaho,” according to the US Department of Transportation.


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