After summer landslides closed part of the Denali Park Road, officials are planning a multiyear construction project to stabilize two miles of roadway and secure travel access with a 400-foot bridge.
Crews halted westbound traffic beyond mile 43 of the 92-mile road in August 2021. The Pretty Rocks landslide closure will continue as the National Park Service, Federal Highway Administration and other partners conduct environmental reviews and finalize plans for a bridge spanning the slide.
Construction, originally slated for 2023, may be fast-tracked once plans are approved.
The Denali Visitor Center, together with trails, businesses and campgrounds located east of mile 43, will stay open during the park’s mid-May to mid-September season. Bus tours will operate on open segments of the road. The rest of the park, including the Murie Science and Learning Center, remain open year-round with limited facilities and services in the winter.
Hotels, restaurants and operators in the gateway communities of Talkeetna, Cantwell and Healy will also welcome guests as normal.
Businesses in the Kantishna area, near the western end of Denali Park Road, will release their construction-period operating plans in the coming months. The Kantishna airstrip remains open.
While landslides have impacted Pretty Rocks since the 1960s, road movement rates increased from a few inches annually prior to 2014, to up to 0.65 inches per hour in 2021.
“We cannot safely keep up with the accelerating rate of landslide movement caused by permafrost thaw currently occurring in association with the Pretty Rocks Landslide,” Denali National Park and Preserve superintendent Don Striker said in an August statement.
The Denali Park Road closes to winter vehicle traffic beyond the Teklanika Rest Area at mile 30 each September.
UPDATED: This report was updated on Oct. 29 to include the fact that Denali National Park, including the Murie Science and Learning Center, will remain open during construction.