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Police set up roadblocks twice Tuesday in Little Cottonwood Canyon for avalanche control

Posted at 2:13 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 00:04:43-05

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- The Unified Police Department and Sandy Police setup roadblocks at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon twice on Tuesday to allow UDOT to do avalanche control.  It stopped some skiers and boarders from reaching the slopes.

“We get a lot of four-letter words, a lot of anger, but we are trying to close the roadway and make it safe for them to travel up and down the roadway,” said Sergeant James Blanton who was manning the roadblock Tuesday afternoon.

The series of storms that have pounded Utah have heightened avalanche danger across the state, but particularly in Northern Utah.

“Some of the canyon areas have seen 40 to 50 inches of snow,” said Craig Gordon with the Utah Avalanche Center “Right now we’re seeing avalanches triggered from a distance, they are six to seven feet deep, so taller than me, and they’re several football fields wide.”

UDOT runs a statewide avalanche control program to limit the danger on state roads.  But it falls on people like Sergeant Blanton to shut down the roads often facing angry drivers.

“Everybody wants the fresh powder, fresh powder will be there tomorrow,” said Sergeant Blanton.

UDOT has a dedicated Twitter account to update people about their avalanche control efforts.  You can follow them at @UDOTavy.

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