Glacier National Park Begins Long-Awaited Construction Project on Lake McDonald

by Amy Myers

Starting June 1, Glacier National Park will begin its anticipated construction project. The efforts will repair seven miles of sewer, electrical and telephone lines from Apgar to Lake McDonald Lodge.

At 10 p.m. on June 1, Ceccanti, Inc. will start the process of replacing these lines along Going-to-the-Sun Road. According to Glacier National Park, the construction project will also focus on replacing the lift station at Lake McDonald Lodge. This will help “reduce the threat of sewage overflow.”

During the spring and summer, crews will conduct work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In order to do so, the park will close Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road will be closed from the south end of the lake near Apgar Campground to Sprague Creek Campground during these hours. At midnight each night, there will be a window in which crews will pilot vehicles through the area.

How Construction Project Will Affect Park Tourists

For Glacier National Park visitors, this might mean a bit of inconvenience during their early summertime visits. However, according to Kate Hammond, acting Superintendent for the park, the small setback now will be more than worth the finished product.

“Although there will be some inconvenience this summer, in the long-term the project will be a great benefit,” Hammond shared in a press release. “This project is long overdue, and our staff has worked hard to secure the funding to replace antiquated and out-of-date equipment, which in turn will protect park resources.” 

Additionally, Glacier will be incorporating its vehicle reservation program for Going-to-the-Sun Road for the second year in a row. The program will begin on May 27 and continue through September 11, 2022.

“Visitors will be able to access Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side after 4 pm without a reservation,” the park stated. “Visitors will not be able to access Going-to-the-Sun Road from the west side before 6 am, unlike last year, due to nighttime construction for the duration of the project. 

Before 6 a.m. and after 4 p.m., visitors can enter Going-to-the-Sun Road without a reservation from the east side at the St. Mary Entrance. They can travel as far as Sprague Creek Campground during the nighttime construction closure.

Glacier National Park Also Continuing Snow Removal Project

Outside of the upcoming construction project, Glacier National Park is also continuing its snow removal efforts. On April 4, the park began removing snow on Going-to-the-Sun Road. Park staff predicts that the main road will be clear and fully open by the end of June. Currently, the road is only open to Lake McDonald Lodge from the west and Rising Sun from the east.

Once the vehicle reservation system goes into effect on May 27, visitors can expect Going-to-the-Sun Road to be open as far as Avalanche Campground on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.