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Arches National Park

Snow closes Arches National Park, causes traffic delays and crashes

By Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com | Updated - Dec 31st, 2018 @ 10:36pm | Posted - Dec 31st, 2018 @ 8:43am


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SALT LAKE CITY — Inclement weather and a lack of funding forced the closure of Arches National Park's main road Monday.

Slick roads and crashes in the Salt Lake Valley and Park City also caused significant traffic delays and left one person critically injured.

National parks

Arches National Park was forced to close the main road at the visitor center due to unsafe driving conditions and a lack of funding during the partial federal government shutdown, the park tweeted. Visitors will not be able to enter the park until the road is reopened.

"Because of the lapse of funding, the National Park Service is unable to provide services, including plowing of roads," the tweet reads.

The road will remain closed indefinitely and will reopen either when the snow and ice melt or when the park receives funding to continue plow services, officials said. Arches staff will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance or emergency response while the road is closed, and there will be no visitor services, officials added.

The National Weather service advised travelers to expect "snow-packed and icy road conditions" with 1-4 inches of snow until 9 p.m.

Only Zion National Park will remain open and staffed in the new year as the state pulls back funding during the shutdown, officials announced Friday.

The other three parks — Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef — will remain open but without services like public restrooms, clean bathrooms, trash collection — and snow plowing.

All five of the national parks were previously able to remain open thanks to funding from the Utah Office of Tourism. Zion National Park will remain open thanks to a donation from a private foundation.

Salt Lake City

A truck failed to yield to oncoming traffic and was hit by an SUV on northbound Redwood Road at 700 North about 7:30 a.m., Salt Lake City police confirmed.

Three people, one in critical condition, were transported to nearby hospitals, police said. The crash closed the road, but it reopened about 8:30 a.m., according to KSL Traffic Center.

Big and Little Cottonwood canyons

Wasatch Boulevard between Big and Little Cottonwood canyons became a parking lot for several hours as many in Utah headed to the ski resorts early Monday, the KSL Traffic Center reported. Delays have since improved and there wasn't any congestion in the area as of 1 p.m.

Vehicles entering the canyons were required to be equipped with four-wheel drive or chains earlier Monday morning, but that restriction has since been lifted. Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed for avalanche control about 11:30 a.m. but reopened earlier than expected about an hour later.

Park City

A Jeep and Subaru collided head-on about 7:20 a.m. when the Jeep turned left onto Ute Boulevard from northbound state Route 224 and hit the front of the Subaru.

The female driver of the Subaru was transported to the hospital with injuries that were serious, but not life-threatening.

The crash forced a partial closure of the road, and commuters squeezed by on the right shoulder, causing traffic to back up to I-80 east of Kimball Junction. A few lanes were reopened about 8:05 a.m. Traffic was delayed in the area for about 45 minutes until the scene was investigated and cleared about 8:30 a.m.

"This heavily impacted the traffic to the ski resorts in the Park City Area," Utah Highway Patrol officials said in an emailed statement.

From Centerville to Farmington

Semitrucks and other high-profile vehicles should take precautions when driving along I-15 between Centerville and Farmington, as well as the US-89 Layton foothills Monday night, Utah Department of Transportation officials said.

Winds will reach speeds of up to 75 mph in the area but should calm down by the morning.

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Liesl Nielsen

KSL Weather Forecast