Rock slide cleared; Zion reopens Scenic Drive

200 tons of rock and debris slide onto Zion Canyon Scenic Drive Friday, blocking both lanes of travel in Springdale, Utah, Jan. 12, 2017 | Photo courtesy of John Marciano, St. George News

SPRINGDALEZion National Park’s Scenic Drive at the Lodge has reopened after a successful clearing and repair operation that tackled a massive rock slide that dumped 200 tons of rock and debris on the roadway Friday.

At the time, the slide blocked both lanes of travel in an area north of Zion Lodge, trapping 12 vehicles in the canyon.

Read more: Rockslide sends 200 tons of rock and debris onto Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

Several precariously situated rocks needed to be removed before the park’s road crew could safely clear the debris, park spokesman John Marciano explained in a statement.

Rather than using a blasting operation as has been used in the past, Marciano said, the team tried utilizing the park’s water trucks and firefighting equipment resources.

Crews work to remove 200 tons of rock and debris that slid onto Zion Canyon Scenic Drive Friday, blocking both lanes of travel on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, photo undated | Photo courtesy of John Marciano, St. George News

A fire monitor, or stand-alone nozzle, was attached to a fire hose and used to precisely aim water at the base of dislodged rocks identified as overhead hazards.

“Park maintenance and local contractors worked diligently to get the road reopened” before weekend visitors arrive, Marciano said in Thursday’s news release.

With rain and snow in the forecast, the slide area will continue to be monitored, he added.

Rock fall and slides are common this time of year, especially when soils are saturated. When visiting the park, be sure to check road and trail conditions and plan accordingly.

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