With rockfall repairs completed, Zion-Mount Carmel Highway set to reopen ahead of schedule

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

ST. GEORGE— The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which connects state Route 9 between Springdale and Mt. Carmel Junction, will reopen Saturday morning, several days ahead of schedule.

Construction began on April 9 after a rockfall undercut a portion of the road March 2.

Read more: UPDATED: Active rockslide closes Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway

According to a press release from Zion National Park, a section of the damaged road had to be removed entirely, a new culvert was placed, the slope was stabilized and a retaining wall rebuilt. An additional section of the road required reestablishing road base and paving as well.

Construction was expected to last approximately three weeks, but a Federal Highways contractor was able to complete the project four days ahead of schedule.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of our park, Federal Highways and contractor team to implement repairs as safely and quickly as possible and restore this vital connection for the visiting public and local communities,” Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in the press release.

The road will officially reopen at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Park rangers will be present on either side of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to escort oversized vehicles from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starting Sunday, the tunnel will be open to oversized vehicles from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a schedule which will last until fall.

Even though the road will be open, visitors should continue to expect trail closures in Zion 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 Zion Canyon to Observation Point, remain closed due to a landslide and an unstable overhanging boulder since January 2019.

As those areas dry out from heavy precipitation over the winter, staff will assess each to determine the next steps for stabilization and alternatives for repair. Visitors are encouraged to check on trail conditions at park visitor centers and the Zion National Park website.

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