Glacier National Park Going-to-the-Sun Road Mitigation Outreach Facilitation


Abstract: In 1999, the National Park Service (NPS) determined that the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) in Montana’s Glacier National Park would need to be rehabilitated due to major structural deterioration from high traffic volumes, harsh weather conditions, and inadequate maintenance. Each year, about 1.4 million visitors travel across the Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of only two roads in the United States designated as a National Historic Landmark. A vast majority of visitors access the road via private automobiles. Federal legislation was passed to accommodate the GTSR project, reallocating $1 million in transportation funds to conduct an Engineering Study, Socioeconomic Study, and a Transportation and Visitor Use Study, with oversight from a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The NPS preferred alternative calls for a phased approach to the rehabilitation of the road over a seven to eight year period. A key mitigation to this plan calls for operation of a park transit system during the road rehabilitation effort. It is expected that the road project can result in a significant reduction in congestion if a transit system can take just a small percentage (10-15%) of traffic off of the GTSR. The use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) was also identified as a mitigation measure to help inform visitors of construction and alternative activities during GTSR reconstruction. Glacier National Park will be planning the transit system and ITS simultaneously, through a Transit System Plan and an ITS Deployment Plan with contractors. The park envisions conducting public outreach for these two plans simultaneously, with a coordinated effort between the consultants, Glacier Park, Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD), and the Western Transportation Institute (WTI). WTI’s role is that of university cooperator and facilitator in the overall GTSR Rehabilitation Mitigation outreach effort.

Sponsoring Organization: Glacier National Park

Completion Date: 9/30/2007

Additional Project Information: http://www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/research/4W0184.aspx

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