SPRINGDALE, UTAH – September 28, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, that runs through Zion National Park, has reopened after being closed due to a rock fall. The rock fall area has been cleared and all normal traffic flow through the park has resumed.
According to National Park Service officials, the massive boulders came down inside the park’s east entrance Tuesday night, and the park was closed from Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries.
Officials said the rock fall occurred 200 feet from the Pine Creek Bridge on the first switchback leading up to the Mount Carmel Tunnel, blocking both lanes of the road. The largest boulder was estimated to be 200 tons, at 19 feet high by 20 feet long, and 15 feet wide. The second boulder was 100 tons, at 10 feet high, 10 feet long, and 15 feet wide.
This particular section of the road has seen rock fall periodically in the last 20 years. Dave Sharrow, park hydrologist said, “the area that the rock fall occurred in, is a part of the Springdale Sandstone rock formation. There are cliffs that are near the road and because the road is carved into the side of the mountain, rock falls can and do occur.”