Heavy traffic at Utah parks, on roads this Labor Day weekend. Here's what to plan for

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning of delays on I-15 along the Wasatch Front on Friday and Monday due to heavy Labor Day weekend traffic.

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning of delays on I-15 along the Wasatch Front on Friday and Monday due to heavy Labor Day weekend traffic. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation urges Utah drivers to plan ahead with heavy traffic expected along the Wasatch Front ahead of the final holiday weekend of the summer.

The agency said delays up to 20 minutes are expected on northbound I-15 through Davis County between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, while delays up to 10 minutes are expected through Salt Lake County from 2 p.m. through 8 p.m. as people commute for the holiday.

"We're expecting a lot of vehicles out there. It's the unofficial last weekend of summer and there's going to be a lot of people taking advantage of it," UDOT spokesman John Gleason told KSL NewsRadio. "I don't know about you, but everybody I talk to at work is taking (Friday) off and Monday, so I think we're going to see a lot of vehicles out there. ... Plan ahead to avoid those delays. If you can, leave (Friday) morning or after the evening commute."

UDOT plans to suspended construction of most of its current projects Friday through Monday to help with travel loads and to give workers a weekend off, Gleason added.

State Route 39 in Ogden Canyon will still be reduced to one lane with alternating traffic this weekend. State Route 95, in the Lake Powell area, is also still closed from U.S. 191 to state Route 261 as a result of construction on the Cottonwood Wash Bridge.

Gleason said crews were working hard Thursday to clear roads from recent flood damage because UDOT still recommends drivers take I-70 to state Route 24 through Hanksville to get to upper Lake Powell. Hanksville was the site of "severe flooding" Wednesday.

UDOT also says drivers should expect delays upwards of 10 minutes on southbound I-15 in Davis County and northbound I-15 near Nephi from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Delays are also expected for westbound drivers using U.S. 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon and U.S. 40 to the mouth of Parleys Canyon from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Crowded parks

Heavy traffic is also expected at Utah's national and state parks as people look for recreation opportunities.

One of those places is Zion National Park, which remains on pace to have its busiest year in terms of visitation. All camping reservation slots at the park are already filled for the entire weekend and park officials said Thursday visitors should expect "queues and congestion" in the park. They even encouraged people with more "flexible plans" to wait until after the holiday to visit the park.

"Parking in Zion typically fills by 8 a.m., so visitors arriving later should plan on parking in Springdale and walking or taking the free town shuttle to the Pedestrian Entrance walk-in gate," officials added in a statement. "The shuttle is free and masks are required."

Those looking to hike to the summit of Angels Landing will again have to go to the Grotto area and "be metered on to the trail by park staff" to help with overcrowding on the chained section of the hike.

Many fire restrictions across southern Utah were lifted over the past week as a result of recent storms.

Ramp closures

Meanwhile, low water levels at various lakes and reservoirs across Utah have many boat ramps closed, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources. The agency said there were about 11 boat ramp closures at nine state parks. Those are ramps are:

  • Antelope Island State Park
  • Echo State Park
  • Hyrum State Park
  • Jordanelle State Park (Rock Cliff ramp; Ross Creek open to nonmotorized boats only)
  • Millsite State Park
  • Piute State Park
  • Rockport State Park
  • Willard Bay State Park
  • Yuba State Park (Painted Rocks)

Department officials added Thursday that the boat ramp at Gunlock State Park may also close by this weekend. The agency reports the reservoir there is 54% full. There are also caution advisories listed for Bear Lake, Great Salt Lake, Palisade, Red Fleet and Steinaker state parks, as well as Yuba State Park's main ramp.

There are also six ramps that are closed at Lake Powell and six others partially open, according to the National Park Service. The Antelope Point Business Ramp is the only ramp without any partial closure. The full list of closures and partial closures can be found here.

Utah Department of Natural Resources lists 32 of the state's largest 42 reservoirs at below 55% capacity.

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