It shouldn't be as bad as last summer. But there's a pretty good chance your visit to Glacier National Park this summer will take longer than usual as contractors work on the next phase of construction.

The scheduled projects are part of the latest effort to improve the Montana park's busy roads and install important infrastructure you won't see, but will help keep the park running smoothly.

The good news is construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road should be complete before the real crush of summer traffic.

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First, the big project

Last year, Going-to-the-Sun Road was in the middle of a huge rebuilding project on the west side of the park. This season, work is getting underway on the last 2.8 miles, starting west of Sprague Creek Campground up to North Lake McDonald Road. There could be 30-minute delays, but crews hope to be finished in late May or early June.

Glacier National Park
Credit: NPS via Flickr

Fiber optic installation

Contractors will be installing fiber optic lines to improve park operations in several areas, including West Glacier, St. Mary, and Many Glacier. There shouldn't be many delays as the line is buried but visitors should watch for workers. One line has to be placed across the Middle Fork Bridge, and that will mean single-lane traffic on that western end of Going-to-the-Sun.

Other projects

Roads and parking lots are being rehabilitated near the park visitor's center.

The road past Many Glacier Hotel will be closed this fall so crews can build a new water system for Swiftcurrent. Trails to popular places like Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel will be open, but hikers will need to park at the big lot by the hotel. That work will be after the hotel and Swiftcurrent Inn and Many Glacier close for the season. 

Traffic on the North Shore Lake McDonald Road will also be cut off again this year as work continues to replace the bridge over McDonald Creek.

More grading is also planned on the Inside North Fork Road up to Bowman and Kintla Lakes, but shouldn't disrupt travel. Work is continuing on Glacier Drive west of Polebridge and that will mean more 30-minute delays this summer.

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