UDOT announces a series of canyon closures ahead of Saturday evening storm

Jan 13, 2024, 3:02 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — The snowstorm that will pass through Utah Saturday night is expected cause havoc on many of the state’s roads and highways.

As such, the Utah Department of Transportation has announced several canyon closures for Saturday night due to avalanche danger. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has even asked motorists to avoid the mountains if at all possible.

Northern Utah

In Logan, U.S. Highway 89 will close in both directions in Logan Canyon at 11 p.m. The highway will reopen Sunday morning at 6 a.m.

“We are expecting heavy snowfall and extremely high wind gusts in the canyon. Please plan ahead,” UDOT Region One posted on X.

UDOT says the closures will begin at 8 p.m., and all lanes will be back open by 9 a.m.

“Our avalanche folks want to be able to look at conditions in the light of day,” UDOT said on X.

Utah County

In Utah County, UDOT Region 3 announced several mountain closures on X.

U.S. Highway 189 through Provo Canyon will close Saturday at 10 p.m. And it will reopen Sunday at noon. State Route 92 through American Fork Canyon will close to traffic at 8 p.m. and will reopen at 2 p.m. Sunday. Additionally, the Alpine Loop portion of state Route 92 (Provo Canyon adjacent) will close Saturday night 10 p.m. It will reopen Sunday at 8 a.m. 

Cottonwood Canyons

UDOT says state Route 190 will close at 11 p.m. The closure is due to road safety concerns over the incoming snow.

UDOT also adds the storm will be so severe that plows will not be entering the canyons after 9 p.m. to clear the roads.

Additionally, UDOT says state Route 210  in Little Cottonwood Canyon will also close, but is unsure of a closure time.

UDOT spokesman John Gleason told KSL TV that some canyons, including Parleys Canyon, will remain open.

He says UDOT will be doing avalanche mitigation in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons and Provo Canyon, but are focusing on just closing the roads tonight.

“We need people to stay off the roads and those in those canyon areas, in the higher elevations,” Gleason said. “We’re going to see whiteout conditions tonight. And although our crews are out there we’re doing everything we can to keep people safe. There are going to be times where it’s just not safe for people to be out there in those mountain passes.”

Avalanche threat

The Utah Avalanche Center says avalanche threats already high and are expected to be elevated even higher once Saturday evening’s storm arrives.

UDOT also said Saturday there was a closure to the Little Cottonwood Canyon full northside from Saturday at 8 p.m. to Sunday at 8 p.m.

Warning from Gov. Cox

Cox went on to X Saturday afternoon to issue an warning about staying out of the mountains.

Gleason echoes the governor’s comments.

“If you can avoid traveling overnight in tomorrow morning in the mountain passes, do that because that’s going to be the way to keep yourself safe,” he said. “Stay off those canyon routes because it’s going to be blizzard like conditions at several points during the overnight (hours) and into tomorrow.”

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UDOT announces a series of canyon closures ahead of Saturday evening storm