The National Park Service has approved a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for a road reconstruction project between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond.
According to a Yellowstone press release, Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica approved the FONSI September 8, 2017 based on an environmental assessment (EA) approved by Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk.
We previously reported the EA, which was open to public comment, analyzed two alternatives: a no action alternative or a one action alternative. After analyzing public comment, the park opted for the one action alternative. According to the press release, the road rehabilitation plan will entail he following:
• Address safety concerns and improve vehicle access.
• Reconnect the wetlands of the Pelican Creek Drainage and allow the creek to naturally migrate within its floodplain.
• Provide better nature viewing opportunities along the road.
• Maintain the historic character of roads, bridges, and other historic resources in the project area.
• Minimize the impact to natural resources.
• Provide access for larger, modern vehicles.
• Minimize disruption to visitor access during construction.
Construction would begin in spring 2018, with delays of up to 30 minutes anticipated. Temporary nightly closures are also possible. Officials plan to close the road completely between October 15 and November 7 in order to expedite finishing work.
The Federal Highway Administration will fund and oversee the Fishing Bridge project.
Yellowstone initially sought to start major closures of the road as early as September 15. However, stiff opposition from Park County commissioners and Cody, WY residents prompted the park to reconsider. Cody is the gateway to Yellowstone’s East Entrance.