Beartooth Highway washed out, extensive repairs needed

Brett French

The scenic Beartooth Highway between Red Lodge and Cooke City will need extensive repairs after rain fell on the pass’ snowpack causing rapid flooding and washing out the highway in at least six places.

Severe flooding struck the mountain pass and the mountain communities of Red Lodge and Cooke City, which flank the pass, earlier this week. Six sections of the Beartooth scenic byway were washed out leaving 100-foot cuts that will require extensive resources to repair, a Montana Department of Transportation official said Thursday. 

Railway equipment is flooded as historic flooding hits the town of Fromberg on Tuesday night.

AMY LYNN NELSON BILLINGS GAZETTE

The roadway is a lifeline for the community of Red Lodge during the summer months, funneling tourists to and from Yellowstone National Park over a scenic pass that towers at 11,000 feet. 

The news comes in the wake of President Joe Biden signing a national disaster declaration that will trigger statewide damage relief, and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras and Sen. Steve Daines touring the flood-weary community alongside FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. 

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