Historic blockage of Bozeman Pass sends Sheriff's Office Resources to Help

Update 5-8: As of 10:30 pm, the Montana Department of Transportation has opened all lanes of traffic on I90 in the Bozeman Pass. Please continue to drive safely and watch for changing road conditions at MDT’s website at https://www.511mt.net.

The Montana Department of Transportation notified Gallatin County 911 that Chains were required on the Bozeman Pass on Tuesday at 10:48 P.M.

Deteriorating road conditions throughout the night led to multiple vehicles becoming stuck, which prevented the DOT plows from being able to clear the roadway. The Montana Highway Patrol had units on the pass throughout the day. The increase in traffic during the morning commute led to more vehicles becoming stuck and multiple vehicles with mechanical issues.  At noon Wednesday, given the continued blockage and the inability of MHP and DOT to clear the road, the Sheriff’s Office mobilized Deputies and Search and Rescue teams to assist stranded motorists.  Deputies and SAR personnel had to use ATVs to get to the vehicles to distribute food, water and fuel.  It is estimated that several hundred vehicles were stranded on the pass.  No injuries have been reported so far.

Currently traffic is moving east and west slowly and is experiencing intermittent stops.  We anticipate somewhat normal travel in the next few hours but recognize the weather could change that.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind motorists to carry water, food, and blankets in case they become stranded. Sheriff Springer would also like to thank everyone on the roadways for their patience as workers attempt to clear the roadway.  If stranded motorists are having a medical emergency, they should call 911 and Sheriff’s Office personnel will get them the assistance they require.  As the primary resources for Montana Highways, MDT and MHP worked to clear the blockages, the duration and magnitude evolved into a life safety issue at which time local resources were mobilized to attend to the life safety of those stranded on the interstate.  Assisting the Montana highway resources on this event included Gallatin County Emergency Management, Fort Ellis Fire Dept, Bozeman Police Dept and Belgrade Police Dept.

Attached video and photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office