ZION NATIONAL PARK – American Society of Civil Engineers President, Andrew W. Herrmann, and Zion National Park Superintendent, Jock Whitworth, will host a dedication ceremony designating the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Whitworth invites the public to the ceremony at the South Campground Amphitheater in Zion National Park on May 18 at 2 p.m. to celebrate this honor.
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 slickrock of the plateau.
Over a three-year period, early in the 20th Century, this improbable route presented unique and dangerous challenges to the hardworking crews, who began work on opposite ends of the road. On the western side, a series of six switchbacks was carved from the canyon floor up. On the eastern side, crews blasted their way through a sea of slickrock 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 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 ASCE’s HCEL program can be found on its website.