Information provided by Steven Robinson
This morning I spoke with UDOT District Engineer Jim McConnell about plans for snow removal and other winter operations on SR 14 while the highway remains impassable at milepost 8 due to the landslide. UDOT authorities met on the snow removal question this a.m., and here is what Jim relayed to me:
1. Restored access across the slide area is not anticipated until June 1, 2012. UDOT is fast-tracking their contracting process to try and get a qualified contractor to begin work as soon as possible, but work probably will not begin until near the end of this year.
2. IF, and this is a big IF, they can build a temporary road with a graveled surface across the slide area, and only if the contractor can continue to work on repairs as traffic moves across the slide area, they MAY open a temporary route sometime before June 1. But the short answer remains – they do not anticipate having a new or repaired route open to the public until June 1.
3. Snow removal will continue on SR 148 through Cedar Breaks for as long as possible, and the road will probably be open for longer then usual. However, once winter really sets in and the continual big storms make the road impassable, it will remain closed for the rest of the winter.
4. SR 14 will be plowed from Hwy 89 west as far as Webster Flat Rd for as long as possible to provide cabin owners and livestock owners access to Webster Flat. However, once the big storms hit and it’s no longer feasible to keep it open, S.R. 14 will be closed WEST of NAVAJO LAKE ROAD.
5. Snow removal will continue from Duck Creek to Navajo Lake Road, and a large turn-around will be plowed at the Navajo Lake Junction. Parking for winter recreation will be kept open on the Navajo Lake Road up to the gate, near where the dumpsters are now. Skiers/snowshoers wanting access to Deer Valley will have to trek up from the Navajo turnoff.
6. Utah State Parks will groom S.R. 148 through Cedar Breaks down to S.R. 14, then they will groom to the east over the unplowed Highway 14 to Navajo.
7. UDOT will make every effort to keep S.R. 143, between Brian Head and Mammoth Creek, open through the winter. As usual, it will be daylight plowing, only, and if big storms and winds keep drifting it shut, it may be closed temporarily at times. However, they won’t wait a week or two to get it opened up as they have in the past. They’ll try to keep it open to a safe standard, except during and immediately after big snow storms.
8. Garfield County will continue to remove snow from the Mammoth Creek Highway, from 143 to 14 at Duck Creek.
9. To make up for the loss of the snowmobile trailer parking area at Midway, UDOT will plow more room for trailer parking at the Rattlesnake Creek trailhead area, and at the Meadow Lakes parking area on S.R. 143 east of Cedar Breaks where the dumpsters are now located.
10. Parking for skiers and snowshoers will be provided at the North View Overlook parking lot within Cedar Breaks, and at the S.R. 143/148 junction about 1/2-mile south of there. UDOT will plow a little further in past the 148 gate to accommodate more skier parking, but trailers will not be allowed at the 148 junction. Snowmobile trailers may be allowed at the North View Overlook parking, but only if the NPS agrees to that.
So, it looks like the Deer Valley Non-Motorized Winter Recreation Area will be left out in the cold this winter. Veronica, Sherryl, Jess, and I will talk about options for grooming those trails, and strategically locating equipment. However, it is doubtful that the public will go to the effort required to get there, so probably not worth it. We may also consider grooming some ski trails on another more accessible part of the District for this winter. Stay tuned for a decision on that. Sherryl – Please forward this message to the grooming volunteers from the Cedar Mtn Nordic Ski Club.
Other operators affected by the lack of winter access to Midway include UDOT, FAA, State Parks, and NPS. All are making arrangements to move their equipment out of Midway and store it elsewhere for the winter.
Channel 3 will keep our viewers updated as more information comes in.