Following Landslide Bryce Canyon, UDOT Work to Repair State Route 12
BRYCE, UT—Those travelling State Route 12 through the northern end of Bryce Canyon National Park should expect delays, possibly lasting into the summer season. A recent landslide has forced the closure of the eastbound lane of the scenic byway between mile posts 14 and 15, resulting in the restriction of travel to a single lane managed by traffic lights. The park is working closely with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to assess the full scope and probable causes of this event.
This latest occurrence was first documented on February 13th, when the highway shoulder and southern slope began to sag. Within six days, the same area had completely fallen away, leaving a nearly sheer escarpment between the roadway and the ground below. UDOT road crews continue to monitor possible movement in the area, but through their immediate response have successfully prevented further road damage. Delays to traffic travelling through this section of the park are between three and five minutes.
The silty limestone and other relatively soft, and soluble layers of the park’s Claron Formation present a uniquely challenging environment for engineers. Residents of the area and regular visitors to the park are likely familiar with instances in which the geology that makes Bryce Canyon famous has also threatened the integrity of its infrastructure, and this portion of State Route 12 in the past. With these events in mind, the park and UDOT are now exploring all possible solutions.
“While our mission binds us to the preservation and protection of the unique resources of Bryce Canyon National Park, we share a commitment with the Utah Department of Transportation to address this issue in the most effective way possible” says Interim Superintendent Sue Fritzke. “What is important is not just restoring traffic to normal, but doing so in a way that will last.”
Travel updates will be posted through the park’s Twitter account @BryceCanyonNPS as well as its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BryceCanyonnps. Additional information about the park can be obtained at www.nps.gov/brca or by calling the park’s information line at (435) 834-5322.
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