By Staff and wire report
U.S. Highway 2 remained closed today along the southern edge of Glacier National Park while experts assessed the risk for more snowslides like the one that blocked the road a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Amtrak planned to resume passenger train service along its Empire Builder route this afternoon, Karina VanVeen, a spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said. Service west of Minneapolis was suspended Wednesday.
''We've been told the tracks are clear and, right now, they're ensuring the safety of the area,'' she said.
U.S. 2 is the only highway across the northern edge of Montana, and its closure meant a detour of 300 miles or more for motorists. Amtrak bused passengers east and west while its trains were halted.
Stephen Herzog, Kalispell area maintenance engineer with the state Department of Transportation, said officials hoped to make a determination today on whether to open the road.
The avalanche that closed the road Wednesday was just one of seven snowslides reported during the day, Herzog said.
Warm temperatures continued to cause concern in the area, known to be prone to snowslides, he said. The region was hit hard with snow last week and temperatures recently have warmed, which Herzog said can help make he snow unstable.
The weather conditions created extra work for Boxcars restaurant in Havre, which is responsible for providing meals twice a day to Amtrak passengers.
After Wednesday's weather closed the tracks, passengers were bused from Whitefish to Havre, where Boxcars had 230 hot dinners ready. The westbound train turned around in Havre, and those passengers were greeted with 180 hot meals.
Today's train service to Havre was closed entirely, something Anderson said Amtrak has not done in the six years Boxcars has provided food for Amtrak.
"With the avalanche warning in Glacier, I think they're just not comfortable enough to run the passenger service," he said.