Zion-Mount Carmel Highway to close for 3 weeks for repairs

A rockfall in Zion National Park results in an undercut portion of road on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, Utah, March 3, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — As a result of being severely undercut by a rockslide on March 2, the Zion- Mount Carmel Highway (state Route 9 connector) will be closed for three weeks starting April 9 for road repairs.

The damage originally closed the road for almost a week. Since then, one lane of traffic has been allowed to remain open. However, starting Saturday, the road will be fully closed from the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to Canyon Junction.

A section of the existing road will need to be completely removed, and a retaining wall below it will be rebuilt, as well as the roadway itself. The road is expected to be closed for approximately three weeks as a Federal Highways contractor completes the work.

The east side will be limited to vehicles smaller than 7 feet 10 inches wide and 11 feet 4 inches tall between the east entrance of the park and the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. All vehicles entering from the east side will have to turn around before the tunnel.

All hiking trails and canyoneering routes on the east side will remain open; however, those needing to get permits from the main canyon or wanting to stage vehicles there, will need to drive around. Permits may also be obtained from the Kolob Canyons Visitor Contact Station off Interstate 15 Exit 40.

Alternate east and west driving routes are available via Highway 59 from Hurricane to Fredonia, Arizona, and state Route 14 from Cedar City to Long Valley Junction and Highway 89. People coming from I-15 to Zion may access the park as usual by traveling east on SR-9 through Springdale.

All park facilities, including the visitor center, museum, campgrounds and shuttle buses, are open and operating as normal in Zion Canyon. The Kolob Canyons facilities and Kolob Terrace are open as usual.

Visitors should continue to expect trail closures in the main canyon. The Kayenta Trail and Upper Emerald Pools Trail remain closed due to a landslide that has continued to settle since July 2018. The East Rim Trail, as well as total access to Hidden Canyon and access from the main canyon to Observation Point, remain closed due to a landslide and an unstable overhanging boulder since January 2019. As those areas dry out, staff will be assessing each to determine next steps and timelines.

Since October 2018, Zion Canyon has received 15.05 inches of precipitation. In comparison, during the same time period one year ago, the same area received 4.48 inches of precipitation.

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