June 20, 2024

Highway 6 mudslide

On Sept. 3, 2023, there was a massive mudslide that went straight into Highway 6, causing it to be shut down. At around 2 o’clock it was reported, and then the highway was not drivable. It completely washed out the road and the highway was shut down until it was cleaned up. The road was in major need of help after the mudslide. Crews quickly fled to the scene, and worked all night so emergency vehicles would be able to get through if needed. They placed barriers and traffic signs. While the construction continued, the speed was reduced to 25 mph and it was a gravel road.

   Nathan Strain, a driver, witnessed the mudslide first hand, he stated, “I could hear big huge rocks tumbling in the bottom of the flowing water. It sounded like thunder but from the ground,” he said. “It was tons of water flowing over that road. By the time I got there, it had gouged out the road pretty deep, so it was flowing kind of at road level.”

   Everyone that witnessed it first hand said that it started small, with only a little water, then it happened super fast all at once. There were many people on the road, considering this is a major highway for truckers and people who are traveling. This also happened during Labor Day Weekend, so it was already a busy weekend for travelers. 

   Another reason this mudslide was so big, is because there was a very large amount of water, and since the Bear Fire in 2021, there was a ton of debris mixed in with it. Because of this, there was more of a rush to get it fixed because of how serious it was.

   Dan Hinckley is a UDOT district engineer for the East District of Region four, he stated in a quote on Fox 13, “We needed to bring in about two feet of fill, so we mobilized trucks last night to start bringing that fill in, and spreading the fill, compacting the fill so we will have a gravel surface that we can put cars on.”

   This just demonstrates the help that was needed and done for this big mudslide that shut down the highway. The highway was reopened on Sept. 4, at around 3 o’clock, they had made some fixes where the drivers could drive through, just at a slower more cautious pace.

   A current project that is being done is the Crandall Canyon Culvert. This is being built and under construction currently. This project has been underway for quite some time now, they have been digging into the road, in the process of installing a large culvert into the road so the canyon highway will be more safe and protected from natural accidents like these. The purpose of a culvert is to convey water from one side to the other on a road. The mudslide that just happened could potentially delay this progress, but they are still working hard to get it done and up and running. The culvert that is being built will prevent things like this mudslide from happening in the future.