Landslide closes highway between Wyoming and Idaho indefinitely

A mountain road in western Wyoming has been closed indefinitely after part of the road collapsed as a result of a landslide. Authorities spoke of “catastrophic” road damage.

On Saturday, June 8, transportation authorities announced that an area near mile marker 12.8 on Teton Pass/Highway 22 – a busy highway often used by commuters and tourists between Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming – had “catastrophically failed” after a landslide caused large sections of the road to collapse down the mountainside.

“A long-term closure is expected,” the Wyoming Department of Transportation wrote in a Facebook post. “WYDOT crews, along with Evans Construction contract crews, worked in the area to build a detour around the damage, but the landslide continued to spread and took away the entire road. No crews were injured during the work and no equipment was damaged.”

A look at the consequences of the landslide.

WYDOT Teton County

The highway, built on a mountainside in Wyoming's Teton Range, began showing signs of damage on Thursday, June 6, and WYDOT warned commuters of closures.

Traffic authorities said the road was open on Thursday as emergency crews “temporarily patched” the roads to allow warned drivers to “reduce their speed and drive carefully through the area.”

WYDOT Director Darin Westby wrote in a Facebook post shared by WYDOT that the highway is a “lifeline” for “commuters, deliveries, access to medical care and tourism.”

“WYDOT engineers, surveyors and geologists were quickly mobilized to maintain the highway's accessibility for as long as possible, but catastrophic failure was unavoidable,” Westby continued. “WYDOT remains on the scene and is working hard to repair the road and restore access to Teton Valley. Safety is our highest priority, and we ask that recreationists and curious residents avoid the area until it can be stabilized.”

A study published in February 2024 by the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation found that the region's population, tourism, and business have increased dramatically, leading to more drivers using Teton Pass.

A look at the consequences of the landslide.

WYDOT Teton County

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon declared a state of emergency by executive order on Saturday, noting that “significant repairs” would be needed to reopen the highway.

“We are closely monitoring this ongoing situation and Wyoming Department of Transportation staff are working diligently to find a long-term solution to rebuild this important roadway,” Gordon said in a news release. “I recognize the significant impact this closure has on Teton County, regional commuters and the local economy.”

Stephanie Harsha, a spokeswoman for WYDOT's Third District, told the Associated Press that there is an alternate route between Jackson and Idaho, but it takes a detour of more than 60 miles and could “add quite a bit of time to any commute.”

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“We were very lucky that no crew was injured. No equipment was damaged,” Harsha told the outlet. “Now engineers and geologists are conducting geological surveys at the pass. They have been monitoring it all day.”

WYDOT also announced that Mile 15 at Teton Pass was closed due to a landslide, noting that the roadway was littered with mud and debris.

“Crews are working this morning to clear the mud and debris,” the department added.

Anna Harden

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