Courtesy of the National Park Service

Zion to reopen some of scenic highway after clearing damage from heavy precipitation

By Cara MacDonald, | Posted - Mar. 7, 2019 at 4:07 p.m.

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SPRINGDALE — The Zion-Mount Carmel Scenic Highway (state Route 9) will reopen Friday at 9 a.m. to non-oversized vehicles after being closed since March 2 due to heavy rainfall.

The road was shut down last Saturday from the East Entrance of the park to Canyon Junction past the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, the National Park Service said. Heavy rainfalls flushed away a retaining wall, making the road unsafe for motorized travel.

Though some of the road has been cleared, the remainder of the stretch will continue to be closed from the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to Canyon Junction until effective repairs are in place, the National Park Service said.

Starting tomorrow the east side of the park will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to small vehicles daily, the National Park Service reported. Vehicles larger than 7 feet 10 inches wide and 11 feet 4 inches tall will not be allowed due to areas with a limited turning radius. All traffic will be turned around prior to reaching the tunnel, which is still closed.

Park officials believe that intense precipitation in the park has caused instability in the soil, which flushed the retaining wall from the section of road which remains closed. A timeline for reopening will be unavailable until engineers finalize a repair design.

Zion National Park reported that it has received 13.45 inches of precipitation since October, compared to 2.9 inches in the same area in 2018.

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