Yellowstone River bridge

The bridge over the Yellowstone River near Tower is under consideration to be replaced.

The National Park Service is eying a replacement of a Yellowstone River bridge along the Northeast Entrance Road near Tower.

Plans are in the “scoping stage,” which includes a call for input preceding the preparation of an environmental assessment document that will weigh three options.

Option A, the customary “no action” alternative, would leave the half-century-old bridge in its current condition.

Option B would replace the bridge with a larger 1,200-foot-long bridge about 500 feet south of the existing location. One mile of new road would be constructed to line up with the new location. Following construction, the existing bridge and approximately 1 1/2 miles of existing road would be removed and the area restored.

Option C would construct a new 600-foot bridge directly adjacent to and slightly north of the existing bridge. After construction, the existing one would be removed.

Options B and C share some common traits. Both plans call for widening the bridge by 6 feet for a 30-foot paved width, and reconfigure and expand the Yellowstone River Picnic Area. The plans would also improve nearby turnouts for vehicles along the road.

Yellowstone aims to release its environmental assessment authorizing the reconstruction by spring 2020 and make its decision by next summer.

Comments are due Nov. 16. Send them in to


Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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