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UDOT trying new strategy to prevent crowding in Cottonwood Canyons

Posted at 7:24 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 21:25:00-05

COTTONWOOD CANYONS, Utah — UDOT is trying something new to prevent overcrowding in the Cottonwood Canyons.

“If the resorts are full, the trail head parking is full, and the road side parking are full," said Jake Brown, the Roadway operations manager for the Cottonwood Canyons, “that’s when we will go to the restriction of the canyons.”

UDOT, ski resorts, UPD and park services are working together to figure out when the canyons will be at “capacity.” Once capacity is reached, they will stop all traffic heading up in order to keep traffic at a manageable amount and give plows time to do their work if it is snowing.

This also has the added benefit of helping control the reduced capacity limits of the four resorts brought on by COVID-19; Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird.

According to Brown, UDOT will, “monitor every 30 minutes and then when we have enough spots opening up we will lift the restrictions.”

Brown told FOX13 during an interview that last year was a big year for canyon travel before COVID-19 hit and so this was a solution they came up with to help traffic as much as possible.

Read: Utah's canyons, ski resorts packed after fresh snowfall

For UDOT and other agencies involved, this new restrictions are all about safety, says UDOT Public information Officer John Gleason.

“It’s something we think about every day and how we can make our roads as safe as possible” Gleason said. “We want to make sure the road way is safe… the trail head is safe and people can enjoy it properly and safely.”