WEATHER

UDOT: Team to evaluate hillside after massive rocks fall near mouth of Provo Canyon

Jan 18, 2024, 10:22 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2024, 5:35 am

PROVO — A geotechnical team will evaluate a hillside near Provo Canyon’s mouth after large chunks of rock fell next to U.S. Highway 189 over the weekend.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason said crews believed the car-sized rocks likely fell Saturday night as winter weather was causing other issues in the canyon. A concrete jersey barrier confined the rocks to an area just east of the road.

“Fortunately, they came down in an area that is set to handle any rocks that come down,” Gleason said.

He said a freeze-thaw pattern may have contributed to the massive rocks coming down.

“With the freeze-thaw cycle, it contracts and expands again, and so when you have that ground that’s frozen, when it loosens up a little bit, that can cause the ground underneath any of these rocks to become more unstable, and then gravity kind of takes over,” Gleason said.

Gleason said a geotechnical team would be out to the area to gauge the hillside’s stability. He also said maintenance crews would likely break the rocks up into smaller, more manageable pieces and then haul them away.

The area where the rocks fell and landed.

The area where the rocks fell and landed. (KSL TV)

Sometimes, crews have resorted to detonating large rocks for the same purpose.

Falling rocks have occasionally caused problems on Utah roads before, including in July 2022 near Helper, when a rock came through a windshield and injured a couple. 

“We’ll have, from time to time, rocks that come out onto the road,” Gleason said. “If you look at Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, that’s something that we deal with every spring.”

Gleason said maintenance crews regularly monitored canyon areas for falling rocks. Still, he also encouraged drivers to report those rocks when they see them and to be particularly vigilant for the potential hazard as winter transitions toward spring.

“It’s always something you should be on alert for when you’re driving through the canyons,” Gleason said. “We can see it happen from time to time.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Weather

Excessive heat over the weekend caused road damage on Interstate 15, leading to multiple vehicles b...

Kiersten Nunez

Heat causes Interstate 15 buckling, damages multiple vehicles in Davis County

Excessive heat over the weekend caused road damage on Interstate 15, leading to multiple vehicles being damaged due to buckling pavement and large chunks of concrete.

1 day ago

Veterinarians advise pet owners to keep pets out of direct sunlight, and keep them hydrated. (KSL T...

Brianna Chavez

Reminders for pet owners as triple-digit heat continues

As the triple-digit heat continues, pet experts want pet owners to be mindful and cautious when going outside.

3 days ago

DEATH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: A sign reading "Extreme Heat Danger" warns visitors during a lo...

Alex Cabrero

Doctors issue warning to Utahns because of record 100+ degree heat

Intermountain Health held a news conference Friday morning warning people to be careful in recent hundred-degree temperatures.

3 days ago

Cristian Ortega, from Orem, takes a water break in the shade while working on construction at the U...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Records fall as heat wave grips Utah

Utah temperature records started to fall Thursday as a "heat dome" settles over the state.

3 days ago

Amid extreme heat that set new records Thursday, doctors were cautioning that symptoms of heat-rela...

Andrew Adams

Doctors caution against exercise in triple-digit heat as temperatures soar in Salt Lake City

Amid extreme heat that set new records Thursday, doctors were cautioning that symptoms of heat-related illnesses and heat stroke could set in within a matter of minutes.

4 days ago

FILE - A vehicle is stranded on flooded Interstate 10 after Hurricane Beryl dumped rain, Monday, Ju...

Melina Walling and Juan A. Lozano, The Associated Press

Houston keeps buckling under storms like Beryl. The fixes aren’t coming fast enough

Sharon Carr is frustrated. Like many others who lost power after Hurricane Beryl slammed into the Texas coast earlier this week, she went to a cooling center in Houston to get relief from summer heat while the city's utility company warned that restoring everyone's electricity could take longer than they might hope.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

UDOT: Team to evaluate hillside after massive rocks fall near mouth of Provo Canyon