Mirror Lake Highway Blocked By Deep Snow
Jun 17, 2019, 4:35 PM | Updated: Jun 24, 2019, 6:12 pm
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Heavy snow this past winter has kept people out of the of the upper elevations of the Uinta Mountains for fishing, hiking, and camping. But, UDOT plow crews are working to get cars rolling on the Mirror Lake Highway In the next couple of weeks.
“It’s a great job,“ said Tyke Walsh, at the controls of a massive snow blower that is shooting a stream of snow 20 to 30 feet in the air. He said he loves clearing the road in the big snow blower.
“It’s something you look forward to every year,“ he said. Despite the roar of the machinery, he said it’s peaceful at the end of the road up in the mountains, as he keeps an eye on his progress on the road.
“You go your own pace,” he said. “Watching it come out of the chute. It’s just it’s fun.”
UDOT is getting started on Mirror Lake Highway a month later than usual because of the deep snow that has hung around after a snowy winter and a cool, wet spring. Plows had to cut through about two feet of snow this morning before they were able to clear the road. They have to cut through eight miles of road with eight to 10 feet snow drifts before cars can safely travel the road.
“We had snow up here this morning, actually,” said Eric Chaston, a UDOT District Engineer, supervising the work this morning.
Check out @UtahDOT plow crews digging into the snow pack on Mirror Lake Highway. Coming up at 5&6 @KSL5TV I’ll show you how soon they expect to have the road cleared for travel to Wyoming. @kslnewsradio @kslweather pic.twitter.com/FXRZtWDxOF
— Jed Boal (@jedboal) June 17, 2019
The crew is plowing two feet of snow off the road in most places, and tackling drifts eight to 10 feet deep. Crews are working with three blowers, a road grader with a plow attached, and a bulldozer.
“This is a little late in the year to see this much snow,” said Chaston. Segments of the road that do not get a lot of sun are still packed with icy snow. This year, the snow was just too deep to consider breaking through any earlier to open the road between Kamas and Evanston, Wyoming.
“We might make it to the top today,” said Chaston. “But, there’s still a lot of cleanup after that with pushing back and getting the ice off the road.”
Typically, UDOT plow crews target Memorial Day for having the Mirror Lake Highway open all the way over to Wyoming. This year, they expect to have the road open by July 4th.