At approximately 5:30 p.m. August 1st, heavy rains began saturating the mountain and within an hour run-off in the wildfire stricken area began pushing debris over the roadway in several locations, plugging culverts and stranding some motorists. The road is currently closed approximately 10 miles west of Huntington up to Miller’s Flat near the Emery-Sanpete County line.
The initial repair schedule, which is highly dependent on cooperative weather, comes after UDOT engineers and road supervisors spent the following daylight hours approaching mudslide and erosion paths from different routes to assess damage and assign resources to the clean-up.
Approximately one-quarter-mile of road at Pole Canyon is under debris, in some spots as deep as 6 feet. Significant erosion in two other areas further east has also eaten away the highway shoulders and will require rebuilding to secure the road. Additionally, maintenance crews are clearing several other areas strewn with rocks, mud and tree limbs.
Public safety officials and UDOT workers spent over two hours helping cars caught between debris flows safely leave the canyon but lost a piece of heavy equipment to the torrent. The powerful storm also caused limited damage to a few concrete structures.
The road will not re-open until adequate safety features are restored.