Beartooth Pass reopens after flood damage

Posted at 9:03 AM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 11:03:38-04

One of Montana's most iconic roads reopened after more than a month of being shut down because of the historic flooding.

The Montana Department of Transportation welcomed back travelers around 5:30 Friday night.

The Beartooth Highway had been closed since May because of snow and also the flooding which damaged a good part of the road.

"Our slogan is the base camp to the Beartooths," said Tim Weamer, who does marketing for the Red Lodge Chamber. "And this is the Beartooths, so being able to run over the Beartooth Highway and use Red Lodge as a base camp is a great attraction for us in the summertime.

Weamer of Creative Design Works works for the chamber and says he's impressed with the work done by Riverside Contracting and the Montana Department of Transportation.

"When you hear about a hole that is a minimum of 20 feet deep and cuts under the entire highway and the river still running beside it, you just can't even imagine," Weamer said. "It's just been amazing. Nobody would have believed that could happen this fast. And so we're just incredibly thankful to the contractor and the Montana Department of Transportation for the work that they've done."

The lady at the front of the line heard about the reopening in Red Lodge and was ready to make the trip.

"Good twisties, what they call them, and to not have any traffic in front of me is a is a joy," said Bobbie, who is from Seattle and did not want to give her last name. "I found out today. It's just it's just happenstance. And sometimes things work out well.

Another tourist also just happened to be in Red Lodge at the right time.

"The guy on our flight from Cleveland to Bozeman, he said make sure it's one of the most beautiful places in the world," said Larry Hershberger from Ohio. "So that's the reason we're gonna try to do that."

And it's also a good drive for the locals.

"I've live in Red Lodge now and I like to go to the park every now and then just for the day," said Bill Hoy, who lives in Red Lodge. "And this is kind of exciting."

The Beartooth Pass is important for tourism and Red Lodge and Cooke City.

"They say they can tell the day that the pass opens immediately," said Kelsey Bruinwood of the Cooke City Chamber of Commerce. "More people in town and a lot more people come in through."

"It's our playground so it's it's awesome for us to have it open," said Weamer.