Avalanche leads to long delays in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mar 31, 2023, 6:05 AM | Updated: 1:50 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Another winter storm rolled into Utah Thursday night, bringing snow to the northern part of the state and closing several roads during Friday’s morning commute.

The Utah Department of Transportation reported several crashes and whiteout conditions in parts of Davis and Cache counties. Parts of U.S. Highway 89 in Sardine Canyon and near Interstate 84 in Weber County were closed for hours as crews worked to clear several crashes and slide-offs.

“Troopers in the north and east areas of the state are responding to numerous crashes and traffic incidents,” tweeted Col. Michael Rapich with the Utah Highway Patrol. “As this storm moves through Please Slow Down, Move Over for Flashing Lights, and expect delays.”

Later Friday morning, a natural avalanche at Laurel Pines (milepost 9.5) closed state Route 190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon. UDOT crews reopened Big Cottonwood Canyon around noon, but traffic to get up the canyon stretched along Wasatch Boulevard with delays reaching five hours.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed for avalanche mitigation work with no estimated time for reopening. Both Alta and Snowbird announced they will be closed for the day.

Overnight, Parleys Canyon was temporarily closed after four crashes sent three people to the hospital.

Winter storm continues

The National Weather Service on Thursday issued a winter storm warning for the northern and south halves of the Wasatch Mountains.

KSL.com reported the warning states that additional snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches are possible within the mountain range between Thursday morning and Friday night. The upper Cottonwood canyons may end up with additional totals exceeding 2 feet of snow.

“Travel could be very difficult (Thursday night) through Friday morning. Traction restrictions may be enacted (and) some road closures are possible due to avalanche mitigation,” the warning says. “The Friday morning commute will be impacted, including I-80 through Parleys Canyon.”

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Avalanche leads to long delays in Big Cottonwood Canyon