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Driver, passenger walk away with scrapes after boulder collision on North Ogden Divide

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 22:14:42-05

NORTH OGDEN, Utah — Like many canyon roads in Utah, the North Ogden Divide presents its share of challenges for road crews.

“It’s steep, it’s windy, you have to mitigate for a lot of different things,” said Weber County Roads Engineer Gary Myers. “With the nature of that road in that environment, you’re always going to have rocks that come down and you’ll be dealing with it.”

A recent incident involved two boulders falling off a steep slope onto the roadway. That's when Isaak Gowans was driving around the corner and collided with one boulder, with another landing on his windshield.

“Had that airbag not went off, it probably would have went all the way through,” said Gowans about the rock coming into the windshield. “I know they’ve got signs for falling rocks but I’ve driven through that canyon so many times that I never thought it would be an issue for me.”

Fortunately, Gowans and his girlfriend are OK — although his vehicle is not.

Weber County Roads has a project in the bidding process which would expand portions of the North Ogden Divide.

“It’s very overdue," said Weber County Roads Director Joe Hadley about the project. “Any time the temperatures raise above freezing, we have the freeze-thaw conditions and the rocks come down.”

The project will widen the roadway in certain areas giving the falling rocks extra space to rest rather than going directly into the two-lane road. The project could cost roughly $1 million. Until the construction begins, falling rocks are a daily concern.

“Usually they’re just smaller rocks and we usually go up three, four times a day to clear them off," said Hadley.