Construction of a bridge across Denali Park Road landslide could start this year

A section of gravel road that has slidden several feet below where it should be
A Sept. 16, 2021 photo of the eastern side of the Pretty Rocks landslide. The displacement of approximately 14 vertical feet occurred over two weeks following the end of maintenance and road use on Sept. 2, 2021. (NPS Photo)

The National Park Service is moving forward with a plan to fix a part of the road in Denali National Park and Preserve that has been made impassable by an accelerating landslide.

The plan, which was approved earlier this week, involves building a bridge across the Pretty Rocks landslide, more than forty miles along the Park Road. Twenty-five million dollars in funding for the project comes from the federal infrastructure bill that passed late last year.

Time lapse of the Pretty Rocks slump, from July 21 to August 25, 2021. In this time, the road displacement was about 21 feet. (NPS Geology Team)

The Pretty Rocks landslide has caused increased road maintenance issues and safety concerns in recent years. The landslide has been speeding up, meaning the methods that worked to keep the road passable in the past are no longer working.

Construction on the project is expected to begin this year, and the National Park Service says the work will be done on an accelerated timeline. Until that work is complete, the western parts of Denali National Park will not be accessible by road.

Visitors this summer will still be able to see part of the park via the road, however. Denali National Park plans to keep the first forty-three miles of the road open.

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