There is no reason to believe that tourism won't again be on the rise in Yellowstone National Park in 2022.

With over 4,000,000,000 visitors again expected, maybe significantly more with the added publicity of its 150th birthday, Yellowstone requires more infrastructure improvements than ever before. That's the diplomatic way of saying expect delays and being in close proximity of your fellow tourists. Our friend Montana Grant from montanaoutdoor.com, a frequent visitor to Yellowstone, has furnished us with an overview of some of this year's improvement projects.

Aging bridges and roads, heavy traffic and severe weather are the perfect recipe when it comes to wearing out many of the thoroughfares. Last year, the roads between Canyon Village and Tower/Roosevelt were repaired and upgraded. Some of this roadway runs through the highest altitudes in the park. The road between Madison Junction and Norris has also been improved and resurfaced. That work required closures and delays for several years.

So, what is on the agenda for 2022?

Grant says that paving work from Old Faithful to West Thumb is next. It was last worked on in 1987. This 22-mile stretch is among the most heavily-traveled roadways in the park. The plan is for 30-minute delays and nighttime work. The road will be closed between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

The Lewis Bridge will also need to be replaced. The bridge was last worked on in 1960. The Yellowstone River Bridge will need to be repaved. This bridgework may take until Fall of 2023. The Yellowstone Bridge will be moved 500 feet south to a new location.

It is pretty obvious that Yellowstone is a high-priority, when you look at the allotment of federal dollars it is receiving. These projects will be funded by the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund.

The cost is expected to be $103 million dollars. $586 million is available in the park budget for fixing the current maintenance backlog. That includes recent North Entrance improvements. which cost an estimated $12 million.

Patience, planning, plus perseverance, please, park patrons.

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