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The opening of the Beartooth Highway to the Montana-Wyoming state line has been delayed by recent weather that dropped more than three feet of snow over the mountain roadway this week. 

The Beartooth Highway will be open to the Vista Point rest area Friday morning beginning at 8 a.m. If weather allows, crews in Montana and Wyoming expect to have the road open to the state line by Saturday morning. 

"It's all weather permitting, and those conditions change very quickly," said Lori Ryan, a public information officer with the Montana Department of Transportation.

Ryan encouraged travelers planning on visiting the Beartooth Highway in the coming days to check the Montana Department of Transportation's website or phone application for the most current road conditions, including closures. 

Additional snow and high winds were expected Thursday night over the Beartooth Highway, according to an afternoon press release issued by Ryan at about 3:40 p.m.

"Wyoming and the (National) Park Service are all on the exact same page," Ryan said. "They're dealing with the exact weather and whatnot that we're dealing with on our side."

Crews have been working to clear the road since April, an annual undertaking that involves road maintenance, guardrail repair and replacement and clearing snow, sometimes in the form of 40-foot drifts that can be reduced only with heavy machinery. 

Elevation on the 67-mile Beartooth Highway, which allows travel from the park's northeast entrance to Silver Gate, Cooke City and Red Lodge and vice versa, is 10,947 feet, according to the press release.

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Night Reporter

General assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette.