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Crews describe undertaking of cleaning up a large avalanche from road in Provo Canyon

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 23:26:58-05

PROVO, Utah -- Crews with the Utah Department of Transportation worked nearly 20 hours to clear the 30-foot wall of rock and stick filled snow that blanketed US-189 in Provo Canyon on Friday.

John Gleason, a UDOT spokesperson, said that this avalanche was expected, but not with the amount of snow that came down. It’s been quite an undertaking for their crews.

“Four loaders, two track hoes, plows have been through here and we’re probably going to see some more equipment before this is all done,” Gleason said.

Though the road is open, they still have a lot of work to do. The weight of the snow damaged many guardrails along the highway and has left large piles of snow that could cause some problems down the road. Gleason said it could cost several thousands of dollars to fix, but a minor issue in what could have been devastating if they hadn’t closed the road to trigger this avalanche.

“If this had happened while live traffic was traveling here in the makes you could have been catastrophic,” Gleason said. “For us to be able to see that concern, target It, bring it down while the canyon was closed...that’s the best case scenario here.”