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Beartooth Highway closed for repairs; pass will open after cleanup

beartooth highway mdot.png
MDOT
A screenshot of an aerial video the Montana Department of Transportation took of the Beartooth Higway.

The Montana Department of Transportation will begin repairs on the Beartooth Highway early next week following last weekend’s severe flood.

DOT spokesperson Lori Ryan says though the pass itself wasn't damaged, it "will require cleanup prior to opening."

She says repairs are being done on the lower side of U.S. Highway 212 all the way to the lower gate. The highway is currently closed from Red Lodge down to Wyoming Highway 296.

A drone video MDOT shared on Facebook Friday shows large chunks of the highway washed out by the river.

Ryan says the department is moving forward with the reopening as quickly as possible to help the people of Red Lodge.

On the other end of the Beartooth Highway, Wyoming Transportation spokesperson Cody Beers says there was little damage to the Wyoming portion of the highway that connects to Cooke City.

Cooke City Silver Gate Fire Chief Troy Wilson says the town is still accessible from Cody by way of Highway 296, the Chief Joseph Highway.

"All the businesses are open and we’ll see if we can catch anybody that comes through and take care of each other," Wilson said.

Farther west, Bannock Trail between Cooke City and Silver Gate lost one bridge completely and another was flooded over, isolating some 100 homes and other properties in the area.

Beers with WY-DOT says the department has already been at work repairing the bridge between Cooke City and Silver Gate, despite it being in Montana. Crews are also working to repair some erosion on a nearby bridge that’s open.

Beers says he will be working with Cooke City leaders to set up a public information meeting there on Thursday night.

He says in these situations, there is no state line between Montana and Wyoming.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.