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Mudslides trap drivers, wash out road in Duchesne County

Published September 12, 2013 10:49 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Flooding and mudslides Thursday trapped drivers in Duchesne County, destroyed a road in Zion National Park and caused other transportation disruptions across the state.

The slides in Duchesne County happened about 7:35 a.m. and damaged State Road 191 in Indian Canyon, about 11 miles southwest of the town of Duchesne.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Johnson said two large slides at mile markers 290 and 288 trapped about a dozen cars. The slides were weather-related, Johnson added.

By about 10 a.m., Utah Department of Transportation crews managed to clear a single lane so the trapped cars could get out. Johnson said authorities did not know when the remaining lanes would open or when the debris would be entirely cleared. Utah Department of Transportation personnel were on scene directing traffic late Thursday morning.

The slides did not cause any injuries.

Utah Department of Transportation spokeswoman Muriel Xochimitl said another flow near Helper, also on SR 191, put four feet of mud on a 100-foot stretch of the road. One lane reopened in that area about 9 a.m. Thursday.

Farther south, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway was closed for about 24 hours after flooding that began Wednesday afternoon. The road was re-opened Thursday afternoon. Zion National Park spokeswoman Aly Baltruss said heavy rain led to flooding that undermined the road about a mile west of the small tunnel.

The park continued to urge caution against sand and construction vehicles still on the highway.

Baltruss also said the rain caused a rock slide in a closed section of the park. No one was injured, through the rocks were about the size of hay bales, Baltruss said.

Debris flows also shut down State Road 29 from Ephraim to Orangeville and State Road 31 from Fairview to Huntington, according UDOT region 4 spokesman Kevin Kitchen. Both sections are near the Seeley Fire burn scar.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii