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Snowstorm leaves semis stranded in Parleys Canyon

Posted at 10:36 PM, Nov 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-30 17:01:27-05

PARLEYS CANYON, Utah -- Friday's snow storm wreaked havoc in Parley's Canyon, leaving several semi trucks stranded and leading to a short shut down of all eastbound traffic on I-80.

Sergeant Mary Kaye Lucas with Utah Highway Patrol walked up and down the chain up area Friday evening, checking to make sure everyone was obeying the mandatory chain restrictions.

"You going to put your chains on?" Sgt. Lucas asked, walking up to the driver side of a semi truck.

It wasn't really a questions, as much as it was an order.

Another truck pulled into the chain up area and asked if chains were necessary.

"It is necessary," Sgt. Lucas said. "You must have chains to go through this canyon right now."

Preparedness was key in fighting the snow storm in Parley's Canyon.

"There are passenger cars that, you know, they do not have 4-wheel drive," Sgt. Lucas said, watching cars zoom by on the highway. "So they're probably going to get stuck up there or spin out."

As semi trucks pulled into the chain area to get ready for their battle, trucks started to spill out onto I-80 because the area got so busy.

A UHP trooper came up to a pair of drivers who were trying to put chains on their truck.

"We're going to get everyone move as far forward, so we don't get stuck like this," the trooper said to them.

That driver said he had never put chains on before.

"I live in Florida, man. I no use to this weather, this kind of weather, man," he said. "This is crazy. This is my first time I'm driving in snow."

Other drivers shared his sentiments, and struggled with the chains.

Thankfully more seasoned veterans helped out and made sure their fellow drivers knew what they were doing.

Many of the drivers who took off never made it all the way up Parley's Canyon.

A few miles from the chain up area, semis began to slide out and become stuck.

Many of the semi trucks, UHP said, failed to stop and chain up.
UHP said they wrote citations for those drivers.

Eventually the situation became such a mess, that UDOT closed down the entire freeway eastbound.

A UDOT front loader came in to save the day, pushing trucks off the freeway so they could turn around and head back down.

Even with a convoy of plows pushing through, the storm won the match-- with Parley's Canyon, 1 and semi trucks, 0.