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Grand Teton plans roundabout at busy intersection

The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration are planning to build a Roundabout at the busy Gros Ventre Road and Sagebrush Drive intersection of US Highway 26/89/191. Grand Teton National Park will hold an open house Tuesday, July 11 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson to explain the project. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2018. The intersection has an average daily traffic volume of approximately 14,200 vehicles and almost 200 bicycle riders during the summer season. The Federal Highway Administration believes that high-speed, two-lane, rural road without traffic signals is probably the greatest safety risk of any type of intersection in the country. And Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela agreed. “The current situation at the Gros Ventre intersection is an extremely high-use area with some serious safety risks that need to be addressed,” said Vela. The National Park Service, in partnership with Federal Highways, Wyoming Department of Transportation and Teton County, conducted safety audits and analyses, and evaluated several alternative solutions to the issue. A roundabout was determined to be the best safety improvement for pathway users, highway users, and wildlife, as well as the best balance of safety, protection of scenic views and cost. Other considerations included tunnels under the highway and Gros Ventre Road, bridge underpass with an additional pathway, pedestrian bridge, overpass or underpass with on and off ramps, stop light, and activated pedestrian crossing. During construction, two-lane traffic will be open at all times on the highway, except in short instances for specific construction activities. Traffic delays are expected for the highway, Gros Ventre Road and Sagebrush Drive from early spring into the fall. Daytime delays will be maximum 15 minutes between 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 30 minutes maximum between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. There will be some impacts to pathway users in early spring through mid-June. Access to the Gros Ventre Road from the highway will be rerouted via Antelope Flats Road for up to five days in early June to complete the temporary highway bypass. Additionally, the Gros Ventre Road will be closed after September 15, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for approximately two weeks to construct the roadway without vehicular traffic. Vela said the park would work closely with Teton County to minimize impacts and provide safe access.

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