Avalanche Forces Closure Of Provo Canyon

Jan 17, 2019, 8:03 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2019, 12:15 am

PROVO, Utah – All lanes of Utah State Route 189 have been blocked after an avalanche fell into the roadway at the bottom of the canyon.

The snowslide happened around 7:30 p.m. Thursday at mile marker 12, about 12 miles from the entrance to the canyon in Utah County and near Vivian Park.

(Courtesy Utah Highway Patrol)

Officials with the Utah Highway Patrol said the snowpack covering the roadway was up to 30 feet deep in some places.

Video from the scene showed massive amounts of snow across all four lanes.

Troopers said no people or vehicles were caught in the avalanche.

“When you look at an area of concern on the side of the mountain we don’t always know whats going to come down and this is one of the biggest ones that we’ve seen. The snow is really heavy, there’s a lot of it, and it just completely buried the road. That’s actually the best result right now given the fact that this could have come down when the road was open,” UDOT spokesperson John Gleason said.

All lanes in both directions have been closed for the foreseeable future. Cleanup was expected to take several hours.

Drivers should consider Interstate 15, Interstate 80 or U.S. Route 40 as alternative routes.

“I think the main point here is that it’s safety over convenience. It is inconvenient that a lot of these canyons are closed but we’ve gotta make sure that they’re safe before we open them. We don’t want any of these slides coming down on people. We’re gonna be working all night long to make sure that we can trigger any type of avalanches so that the snow is down where it needs to be instead of coming down when people are driving through,” Gleason said.

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Avalanche Forces Closure Of Provo Canyon