Work on the Gardiner Gateway Project — a $12-million revamp of the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park — will begin this summer after project organizers snared a $10.3 million grant from the Federal Lands Access Program.
The project, set to be completed in three stages by 2016, will reconfigure the road between Gardiner and the current entrance to Yellowstone. It will divert traffic from the Roosevelt Arch — built before the era of big trucks and RVs — while giving visitors a chance to acquaint themselves with the Yellowstone story before actually entering the Park. Right now the North Entrance can be a tangled mess: everyone want their picture taken with the Roosevelt Arch and the Yellowstone National Park site, causing delays and potential accidents. With this plan, traffic will be diverted to a new road east of the Arch, and a new park and visitor center installed west of the Arch, integrated with downtown Gardiner.
“For over 130 years, visitors have traveled through Gardiner to enter the world’s first national park,” said Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “We welcome working with our partners to enhance the experience of visiting our public lands.”
“Receiving this funding will help enhance access to our public lands, it will also create jobs and improve our local economy,” said Marty Malone, Park County commissioner.
Engineering and design work is already underway. Construction on infrastructure improvements intended to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, reduce traffic congestion, enhance parking, and provide for greater pedestrian accessibility is likely to begin in 2014. The project schedule will be developed to minimize construction impacts during the peak summer visitor season.
The first part of the project, set for 2014 completion, will add an Arch Park to downtown Gardiner, to be located west of the Roosevelt Arch. A bypass road farther to the east would also address congestion issues at the Roosevelt Arch.
The second phase of the project, set for 2015 completion, would reconstruct the old Gardiner Depot based on the original Robert Reamer design. It would also see the creation of a new welcome center in downtown Gardiner.
The third phase of the project, set for 2016 completion, would finish work on the North Entrance, including a road upgrade and changes to the current entrance gate.