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Steve Griffin, KSL

US 189 through Provo Canyon open after avalanche

By Linda Williams and Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Jan 18th, 2019 @ 6:28pm | Posted - Jan 18th, 2019 @ 6:49am


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SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. 189 through Provo Canyon reopened Friday evening after crews cleared a massive avalanche, officials said.

Also, classes were canceled in the Carbon School District due to weather, officials said on Facebook.

Here is a roundup of road closures and weather conditions affecting Utah:

Provo Canyon

Utah Department of Transportation crews worked through the night to clear the avalanche that was 30 feet deep in spots.

Crews triggered the avalanche as part of avalanche control efforts Thursday evening, according to UDOT.

The slide is one of the largest UDOT crews have seen, according to spokesman John Gleason. He tweeted that the force of the slide was "staggering." Crews reported cleaning it up is "like moving concrete… dense, wet and full of debris," Gleason said.

U.S. 189 was reopen in both directions shortly before 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to a tweet from UDOT officials.

Big and Little Cottonwood canyons

Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed overnight for avalanche control but reopened about 9:15 a.m., according to a tweet from the Utah Department of Transportation.

It closed again at noon for about 10 minutes, according to the KSL Traffic Center. During the closure, traffic was backed up to the mouth of the canyon at Wasatch Boulevard, according to KSL Newsradio's Rikki Meece.

Chains or four-wheel drive are required in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. Restrictions are also in place for most other higher-elevation roads. The backcountry of Little Cottonwood Canyon is also closed, according to UDOT.

As of 10 a.m., UDOT crews were working to clear a 9-foot-deep, 100-foot wide snow slide in the Hellgate area of Little Cottonwood Canyon, just west of Alta. Officials said the slide likely occurred overnight.

The Utah Avalanche Center reminded Utahns Friday that an avalanche warning remains in effect through the holiday weekend.

Elsewhere across Utah

Tire chains or four-wheel drive is also required on state Route 158, also known as Powder Mountain Road, in Weber County, according to UDOT. Chain and four-wheel drive restrictions are also in effect for state Route 92 in American Fork Canyon.

Semitrucks are not being allowed on eastbound state Route 14, through Cedar Canyon in Iron County, due to inclement weather, according to UDOT. Drivers in the area are asked to seek an alternate route.

In Daggett County, U.S. Highway 191 has been closed in both directions at the Utah-Wyoming state line due to inclement weather, according to UDOT. There is no estimated time for reopening.

In Zion National Park, a rockfall caused officials to indefinitely close Observation Point via the East Rim Trail from Weeping Rock, according to a tweet from park officials.

The storm that brought snow to Utah's higher elevations and turned the commute wet and slushy along the Wasatch Front was expected to clear by about 11 a.m.

Get the complete weather forecast here.

Get traffic updates on KSL Newsradio and check commute times on the KSL Traffic Page.

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Linda Williams
Jacob Klopfenstein

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