Southern Utah News Articles
Zion-Mount Carmel Highway reopens after road construction
Ahead of schedule, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway (State Route 9 Connector) reopened on Saturday, April 27. Construction began on April 9, 2019, and required a section of the damaged road to be completely removed, a new culvert placed, the slope 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.
The road officially reopened at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. Park rangers were present from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., on either side of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel to escort oversized vehicles. Starting Sunday, April 28, the tunnel opened to oversized vehicles from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., a schedule that will remain until the fall.
Though the road connecting south and east to State Route 9 will again 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 the Zion Canyon to Observation Point, remains 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 be assessing each to determine next steps for stabilization and alternatives for their repair. Visitors are encouraged to check on trail conditions at park visitor centers and at www.nps.gov/zion.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of our park, Federal Highways and contractor team to implement repairs as safely and quickly as possible” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh, “and restore this vital connection for the visiting public and local communities.”