Mount Lemmon from Inspiration Rock. Photo by National Forest Service.

On July 30, the Pima County Department of Transportation announced that the Mount Lemmon Highway would reopen beginning Saturday, Aug. 1. 

This announcement came only two weeks after the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said mountain access would be cut off until November. But a coordinated repair effort between the PCSD, the Department of Transportation and the Coronado National Forest Service is making the road safe for public access. 

Since the Bighorn Fire dwindled through early and mid July, transportation workers have replaced more than 250 burnt guardrail posts, and aim to double that number. 

According to the DoT, repair work will continue next week, including the repair and replacement of nearly 1,700 feet of guardrail. Speed reductions and lane restrictions will remain in place in areas where repair work continues. A closure order for lands managed by the Coronado National Forest in Mount Lemmon and the Upper Sabino Canyon remains in effect for public safety. The closure is in place because “the hazards to public health and safety are still present. The closure order is subject to change and the Coronado National Forest regularly assesses the conditions on the ground.” 

The reopening will allow vehicle access on Mount Lemmon Highway to Summerhaven and Ski Valley. Limited parking is available in these areas. Once parking areas become full, PCSD will control access until enough vehicles leave and allow for additional visitors to drive up the mountain.

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