Heavy Snow, Bad Driving Choices Led To Sardine Canyon Closure, UHP Says
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – U.S. Highway 89/91 between Brigham City and Wellsville, what many people know as Sardine Canyon, was closed for a few hours Monday morning and officials with the Utah Highway Patrol warned drivers to avoid some of the same mistakes that led to that closure as more snowstorms are expected in the coming days.
“A lot of people in the public just didn’t pay attention this morning,” said UHP Lieutenant Lee Perry. “We had the sign initially saying snow tires and chains required, and they drove into the canyon anyway. And then we put up the sign, closing the canyon, and people drove past the closed sign into the canyon.”
The lighted marquee sign at the mouth of the canyon on both ends is maintained by a UDOT station in the canyon. The supervisor there, Scott Baker, said drivers should take the warnings seriously.
“Pay attention to the boards, slow down, move over for our law enforcement,” Baker said, adding that dozens of cars ended up trapped in the canyon while plow drivers cleared the roads. “When we got up into the big curve there were 40 to 50 cars that were stuck in there, and then also our semis that didn’t chain up and shut the road down.”
— Mike Anderson (@mikeandersonKSL) November 25, 2019
Perry said several drivers were ill-equipped for the snow and ended up sliding off the road into side barriers and into each other.
“Hardly any of the people that got stuck up there had chains with them, and none of them had snow tires,” Perry said.
In addition to the several accidents and slide-offs, Perry said several semi-trucks became stuck in the now as well. Four large tow trucks were called in to pull them out. With more snow expected in the coming days and a very busy holiday travel day on Wednesday, Perry urged drivers to use caution and avoid traveling on Wednesday, if possible.
“We’re down manpower. We can’t afford to have tons of crashes out there. We want people to get where they need to go safely,” Perry said. “People just are not going slow enough.”
Over 270 crashes were reported statewide and two UHP troopers were hit while responding to crashes on Monday.
UHP said the troopers were uninjured.
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