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Major mudslide closes U.S. Highway 6 in Carbon County

Sep 3, 2023, 3:58 PM | Updated: Sep 4, 2023, 6:03 am

CARBON COUNTY, Utah — U.S. Highway 6 was shut down near Helper due to a massive mudslide Sunday night.

At approximately 2 p.m., the mudslide was reported by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. A few hours later, the Utah County Sherriff’s Office said U.S. Highway 6 was closed at milepost 187 by Thistle and milepost 230 in Carbon County.

Deputy Daniel Robison with the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office told KSL TV the floodwaters were flowing on a burn scar from the 2021 Bear Fire.

Driver Nathan Strain got caught in the backup caused by the flooding.

“I could hear big huge rocks tumbling in the bottom of the flowing water, it sounded like thunder but from the ground,” he said.

He said the damage to the road was major.

“It was tons of water flowing over that road,” Strain said. “By the time I got there, it had gauged out the road pretty deep, so it was flowing kind of at road level.

Those driving from Moab or Colorado are now forced to take a detour. Officials suggest drivers take U.S. Highway 89 at Thistle, and other roadways if they are traveling from Utah County.

At approximately 8:20 p.m., four to five mudslides in Indian Canyon temporarily closed U.S. Highway 191 southbound 4 miles south of Duchesne. UDOT crews reopened all lanes late Sunday night.

“Lots of people in their little camper vans and lots of RVs, so yeah, there’s definitely a lot of travelers, a lot of out-of-state plates,” Strain said.

Another problem is a possible setback of the installation of a large culvert designed to prevent road damage from flooding at the site of this mudslide.

“Over the last few weeks and months, they’ve been installing a big culvert into the road, and they’ve been shifting lanes and moving stuff and digging,” Strain said. “They were doing work to prevent this sort of thing in the future, kind of an irony there.

The already busy highway is expected to see significant traffic delays this Labor Day.

UDOT plans to reopen U.S. 6 by Monday afternoon. The agency said the road won’t be paved, so drivers will need to slow down and travel around 25 mph. Officials said it all depends on the weather that moves in Sunday night.

“It looked pretty wild and it’s going to take them a long time to fix that,” Strait said.


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Major mudslide closes U.S. Highway 6 in Carbon County