Chief Joseph Slide Permanent Fix

Cody - the highway near cody that’s been sliding down the mountain for two years is getting a final fix right now. Wyoming’s Department of Transportation is building a small mountain berm beneath
the Chief Joseph Highway that has ripped apart by the spring slides.

April 19, a snowplow operator reported this highway near Dead Indian Trail had dropped about three feet at 5 a.m. By late afternoon, the pavement was 12 feet below the only lane lef: the inside shoulder.

A special crew from Colorado used long rods to nail the slope in place to secure Highway 296, the Chief Joseph Highway, so Crandall residents and tourists could get to Cody and Yellowstone’s Northeast entrance.

This was the second year part of this road slid off the mountain. A permanent solution had to be found, and put in place, quickly. WYDOT Engineers recommended a toe: or small mountain of rocks and dirt be compacted below the slide.

WYDOT Project Engineer Guy Grant remarked, “We have to move 279-thousand yards of material.”

He explained that amounts to, “20,700 loads in an end dump truck.”

WYDOT is cutting trees in the area below the slide…and building a road to carry much bigger dump trucks to the toe site. The process was expedited.

WYDOT Public Affairs Specialist Cody Beers explained, “We were able to get a sit down meeting with Sue Stressor and her staff, her entire staff.. So there was about 40 people jammed together in a room, and everybody came to that meeting with a can do attitude and lets get this done.”

Beers said the permit process through federal and state regulations would normally take years.

He said, “We were able to get this thing from its infancy in May, to where we’re building this road in two months.”

That is very good news for Cody, which depends on the Chief Joseph Highway to access one of its two entrances to Yellowstone. Starting mid-October, access to Yellowstone through the East Entrance will closed for road construction on Fishing Bridge inside the Park. But, there will only be two short delays on the Chief Joseph project: a two minute delay for the light, and then another short delay for trucks carrying loads over the road to the toe berm.

Grant said they will also replace the Dead Indian Trail below the slide, where people often hike to see mountain goats.