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Catastrophically Failed Wyoming Teton Pass Collapse Emergency Declaration

Wyoming's Teton Pass road collapsed, prompting an emergency declaration. Gov. Gordon coordinates response. Crews mobilize to restore critical transportation route.

Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming issued an emergency declaration on Saturday after a significant portion of the Teton Pass road collapsed, creating a major gap in a crucial transportation route connecting eastern Idaho towns to the popular tourist destination of Jackson. The collapse occurred early Saturday morning, prompting the governor to coordinate with state officials from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to address the situation.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and contractor Evans Construction initially attempted to set up a detour to bypass the damage caused by the landslide. However, the situation escalated, leading to the complete obliteration of the road at milepost 12.8 on Teton Pass. WYDOT confirmed that no one was injured during the collapse, emphasizing the safety of their crews and equipment.

Director Darin Westby of WYDOT highlighted the critical role of the highway in facilitating commuter traffic, deliveries, medical services, and tourism, especially during the summer season. Despite efforts to keep the highway operational, the collapse necessitated a long-term closure for repairs and stabilization. Westby urged the public to avoid the area for safety reasons until the road is stabilized.

The road's condition first came to light on Thursday following a motorcycle accident attributed to a noticeable crack and dip in the road. Geologists and engineers were dispatched to assess the situation, leading to a temporary fix that allowed traffic to resume. However, complications arose with a mudslide on Friday, resulting in another closure. By Saturday, the entire section of the road had collapsed, prompting the emergency declaration by Governor Gordon.

The closure of Teton Pass poses significant challenges to Teton County residents, regional commuters, and the local economy. Governor Gordon expressed his gratitude for the efforts of WYDOT staff in responding to the landslide and emphasized the importance of public safety throughout the repair process. The timeline for reopening the road remains uncertain as state officials work to restore connectivity to the Teton Valley.

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