I thought it worth an update on the snow clearance on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park as it is possible to see the rate of progress in a week on the map below. Reported snow depths have also doubled (in that crews are now into the areas with greater accumulation and more slides and avalanches). [Now Updated with 24th June and 1st July plow locations on map. 18th July – The road finally opened on 13th July (while I was away). This is the latest it has ever opened. Well done to the plough crews and staff.]
In this video from KPAX in Missoula – Crews struggle with dangerous Going to Sun plowing (16th June) the scale of the challenge is quite plain.
The Missoulian reports Slow going as crews work to clear snow on Sun Road using a mini-cyclone capable of clearing 4,000 tons of snow an hour.
“These levels are just unbelievable for June,” said Thomas, a longtime plow operator. “When we first started up here, you couldn’t even make out an image of the road. So we’re certainly making progress.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were still working after July 11,” Thomas said. “I just don’t know how we can get the job done any faster than that.”
From the NP website: Information Updated at 2:20PM on June 20, 2011
West Side Plowing Activity
Friday, crews cleared 1.25 lanes from the first chute below Triple Arches to just short of Triple Arches. Snow depth was 35-40 feet. Today, crews plan to remove more snow in Triple Arches.
East Side Plowing Activity
Friday, crews worked in the East Tunnel. Snow depth was 30-50 feet. Today, crews will continue that same work.
The USGS avalanche hazard map here shows the features mentioned.
According to Google Maps, the distance between Triple Arches and East Tunnel is 3.2 miles, or about 6 minutes driving time. At current rate of snow clearance it is probably about 3 weeks, if the weather is kind and the Big Drift doesn’t pose too much of a challenge.