Mudslide buries roadway in Little Cottonwood Canyon during closure

May 2, 2023, 4:10 PM | Updated: May 7, 2023, 7:49 pm

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — A mudslide covered part of state Route 210 in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday afternoon while the roadway remained indefinitely closed to travel.

The Utah Department of Transportation described the slide — which is located near mile marker 7 — as approximately 4 feet deep and 100 feet wide, with large woody debris.

Click here for all current and upcoming forecasts on Utah’s flooding and resources to protect your home.

Just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Utah Geological Survey said geologists were being sent out to the area to do reconnaissance work and evaluate the situation.

About an hour later, UDOT said a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter had helped with aerial reconnaissance work as conditions were too unsafe for ground crews, adding that they would assess the problem Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

“Fortunately, our crews closed the canyon early this morning for the potential of slides hitting the road,” UDOT officials said.

So far, an estimated time for reopening S.R. 210 has not been announced. Tuesday’s landslide came as both Cottonwood canyons have faced closures due to avalanche and slide hazards.

“When the sun heats it up, the snowpack basically becomes very dense, liquifies and starts running down, almost like lava,” UDOT spokesperson John Gleason said.

UDOT said debris flows continued through Tuesday evening and crews began cleanup work Wednesday morning.

Crews are watching both Cottonwood canyons daily “to determine if/when road closures are needed for land/mudslides, avalanches or other hazards. Closures possible at any time, be prepared & check road status before heading to canyons,” UDOT tweeted Wednesday.

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Mudslide buries roadway in Little Cottonwood Canyon during closure