UDOT crews busy with avalanche control work, cleanup in Provo Canyon

Feb 27, 2023, 12:56 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — Utah Department of Transportation crews closed U.S. Highway 189 along Deer Creek Reservoir Monday afternoon due to an avalanche that was blocking all lanes.

“This was a good slide, with it being about 12 to 15 feet in depth, covering four lanes of traffic, and being about 20 to 30 yards in width,” said UDOT Senior Communications Manager Geoff Dupaix.

The slide came down after traffic had been stopped on U.S. 189 for previously planned avalanche control work.

“This is an area where we’ve seen enough buildup in the snowpack that they felt it would be safer to trigger it before it triggers on its own,” Dupaix said. “This is something we try to do as needed.”

State troopers closed westbound U.S. 189 lanes at Deer Creek and eastbound lanes at milepost 17 for a few hours Monday afternoon, with all lanes reopening at approximately 2:59 p.m.

“When control measures are implemented, it’s to bring something down hopefully before it happens, and if not, we close the road and bring down these slides and get them cleared off so we don’t run the risk of having them trigger on their own when a vehicle may be passing through the area,” Dupaix said.

The next set of intermittent road closures will take place between Vivian Park and Canyon Glen Park between 6 and 8 p.m. Monday. UDOT said U.S. 189 will close for 15-minute periods during avalanche control work, but longer delays are possible if larger slides are triggered.

“Motor safety is our top priority, and if we bring something down intentionally, that then allows us to keep the roadway safe and traversable,” Dupaix said.

He said state Route 92, from the intersection with U.S. 189 up to Sundance Resort, will close around 9 p.m. Monday and remain closed through 7 a.m. Tuesday for additional avalanche control.

“We’re working hard to make sure these roads stay open during the winter, but sometimes we have to have some of these closures in order to make these roads safe and passable,” Dupaix said.

He urged drivers to check UDOT’s traffic website to make travel plans ahead of time.

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UDOT crews busy with avalanche control work, cleanup in Provo Canyon