‘Catastrophic’ Landslide Closes Critical Mountain Highway Between Wyoming and Idaho

On the morning of June 8, the main corridor connecting Eastern Idaho and Northwest Wyoming for commuters and tourists alike “catastrophically failed” due to a landslide. Officials say there is no estimated time of reopening.

Gov. Mark Gordon has issued an emergency declaration to garner federal support as the closure will greatly impact the area’s workforce and the state economy. Teton County generated over a third of the state’s travel and tourism tax revenue in 2022.

According to Wyoming Public Media, Teton County, home to the popular tourist mountain town of Jackson, depends on at least 2,500 workers who live on the other side of the pass in Idaho. That’s about 15 percent of the county’s total workforce as of 2020, according to the state.

Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit (START), which provides commuter service weekdays from Driggs, Idaho to Jackson, plans to send buses on an alternative route starting June 10. The revision makes what’s normally a roughly 45 minute ride a two-hour ride.

The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce has released a guide for businesses and Jackson hospitality partners detailing an alternate access route via the Snake River Canyon that connects Wyoming Highway 26 to U.S. Route 98 through Alpine. That’s a two-hour drivetime the Chamber expects will increase as more cars use it.

“We encourage both visitors and residents to support the community by exercising additional patience and understanding to employees and businesses who may be affected by the closure,” the resource guide reads. “Stay up to date with road closure information and obey all roadside signs, traffic control devices and closures. Reduce the traffic on the road by using alternative transportation (bus, bike, walk) or delaying unnecessary travel.”

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