Landslide Causes ‘Catastrophic’ Failure of Teton Pass in Wyoming

The long-term closure of Teton Pass following major damage caused by a landslide will have far-reaching economic impacts on the region, residents, and visitors.

1 minute read

June 10, 2024, 7:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon

A road winds along the edge of a mountain, with an inclined tan rockface above it and a snowy treeline near the top of a photo.

Teton Pass is a 17-mile stretch of road that reaches altitudes of over 8,000 feet. It is often closed during winter because snow and avalanches make the road extremely dangerous. | Kenneth Sponsler / Adobe Stock

The Wyoming Department of Transportation announced on Saturday that part of Teton Pass, “a crucial highway weaving through the mountains of western Wyoming,” collapsed in a massive landslide, according to an CBS News article. The landslide “effectively destroyed a whole section of the surrounding highway,” writes CBS reporter by Emily Mae Czachor. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Officials have not released a timeline for repair but said it will likely be closed long-term, which is a major concern for the surrounding region because the pass is the primary transit route between Victor, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyoming, and provides “vital access to Teton County, which includes Jackson, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, for workers who commute there from eastern Idaho,” Czachor reports. Because of the mountainous terrain, the detour route roughly triples the normal 30-minute travel time between Victor and Jackson.

The region is bracing for economic consequences. According to the CBS article, workers who live in Idaho and commute to Teton County make up about 40 percent of the county’s workforce. A long-term closure will have both impacts on those workers, as well as services for visitors and locals in Teton County during the height of the summer tourist season.

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