The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel go where no road had gone before: up Pine Creek Canyon, through the Navajo sandstone cliffs, and east across the slick rock of the plateau. Over a three year period, this improbable route presented unique and dangerous challenges to the hardworking crews. They began work on opposite ends of the road. On the western side, a series of six switchbacks were carved from the canyon floor up. On the eastern side, crews blasted their way through a sea of slick rock sandstone. The most significant challenge was the arduous task of constructing the 1.1 mile tunnel through the heart of Zion’s sandstone cliffs.
On July 3, 1930, work was completed, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel were officially designated and opened to the public.
ASCE, America’s oldest national engineering society, was founded in 1852 and represents more than 147,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. The ASCE’s Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program (HCEL) recognizes historically significant local, national, and international civil engineering projects, structures, and sites. The HCEL was created to recognize and encourage preservation of landmarks, as well as promote historical awareness of civil engineering, both professionally and to the general public. Local, national and international landmark sites are eligible for nominations to HCEL status. In order to be selected as a historic landmark, the site must be of historic civil engineering significance, structurally or technically unique, at least 50 years old, accessible to the public and approved for HCEL status by the owner of the structure. Additional information about the HCEL program can be found at www.asce.org/People-and-Projects/History-and-Heritage