Updated Dec. 7, 10:10 a.m. The rock slide has been cleared from the roadway, and SR-14 is open in both directions and moving slowly while crews repair a hole caused by falling rock, according to Cedar City Emergency Dispatch.
CEDAR CITY — A rock slide has closed state Route 14 in both directions at milepost 8 near Cedar City Thursday morning.
The rock slide occurred in Iron County approximately 6 miles east of Cedar City, according to an alert issued by the Utah Department of Transportation shortly after 7:40 a.m.
Tyler Knudsen, Geologist with the Utah Geological Society, said that particular area where the rock slide was reported has a long history of activity.
“Ever since they built a road in that canyon, they’ve had issues at milepost 8,” Knudsen said, “and it’s a rough spot for a road since it’s near Cedar Canyon is at its deepest, and at its narrowest.”
Additionally, Coal Creek is actively eroding both sides of the canyon, and its the most active section, he said. Knudsen added that the area is part of the Markagaunt High Plateau, which is rising along fault lines at the same time that Cedar Canyon is being excavated by erosion, which results in rock falls and slides.
Numerous significant landslides and rock falls have have damaged or destroyed this one-mile stretch of SR-14 near milepost 8 over a span of more than 100 years, Knudsen said, likely making this one of the costliest stretches of roadway in terms of maintenance and repair in the Utah state highway system.
“That’s just the nature of Utah in general, and it’s impossible to build infrastructure in perfectly placed areas, so we’re forced to put in roads where geology is not stable all of the time,” he said.