Yellowstone National Park Replacing River Bridge with $118 Million Contract
Yellowstone National Park recently announced that they will be replacing their 'structurally deficient' Yellowstone River Bridge, located on the Northeast Entrance near Tower Junction.
That's according to a press release from the park, which stated that the National Park is able to do this with a $118 million construction contract awarded by the Great American Outdoors Act.
The project will preserve public access to and from the park's Northeast Entrance and the communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana.
"As a vital piece of the only road corridor in the park that is plowed for winter use, the Yellowstone River Bridge provides visitors and communities with all-season opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the world's first national park," said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. "We are grateful for the bipartisan GAOA support that is providing funding necessary to complete large-scale infrastructure upgrades in national parks to improve safety and the visitor experience."
The original bridge was built in 1963. It is 604 feet long, and it will be replaced by a new, 1,285-foot-long, 175-foot-high steel girder bridge.
Funding from the GAOA will help build approximately one mile of new road that will line up with the replacement bridge location. Additionally, new pullouts, new paved parking areas, and dedicated pedestrian routes across the bridge will increase the access to trails, fishing, and viewpoints.
New construction will also enlarge the Yellowstone River Picnic Area. Once construction is complete, the existing road segment and bridge will be removed, and the area will be rehabilitated.
“This partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service, funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, will make Yellowstone National Park — an icon of the American outdoors — more accessible for millions of visitors who come to experience the geysers, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges every year,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “That’s not only good for families enjoying the great American outdoors — it’s critical for the economies of local communities neighboring the park.”
The project will begin this summer and will be completed by the fall of 2026. Vehicle traffic will use the existing bridge while the new bridge is built. The release noted that there will be short traffic delays occasionally. Wetlands that are bisected by the existing road segment will be re-established, and the Lost Creek drainage that is currently occupied by the road segment will be restored.
“We greatly appreciate the support in getting this major project funded,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly. “This has been one of our highest deferred maintenance priorities for years and will help ensure safe visitor and community access within the northeast corridor.”
The release noted that The Federal Highway Administration awarded this construction contract to HK Contractors, INC of Idaho Falls, Idaho.