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Highway 6 back open at reduced speeds with temporary fix

Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 03, 2023

CARBON COUNTY, Utah — Two highways in rural Utah were completely closed Sunday due to damage and debris covering the road after mudslides.

Utah Highway Patrol announced Sunday afternoon that U.S. Highway 6 was closed in both directions near milepost 228, located in Price Canyon between Soldier Summit and Helper.

Monday morning, the Utah Department of Transportation reported they were on track to reopen the road in some capacity with a gravel road and reduced speeds. An update around 3:15 p.m. said they had finished the temporary fix and the road was back open.

Speed limits will be reduced to 25 miles per hour "for the next several days" as a more permanent solution is put in place, UDOT reports.

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"With the amount of water that came down and debris due to the burn scar from the Bear fire in 2021, we had excessive flows,” said Dan Hinckley, a UDOT district engineer for the East District of Region 4.

Hinckley said the water exceeded capacity for drainage, causing it to come up and wash out the road.

He said they spent a couple of hours on Sunday surveying the damage and bringing in people and equipment to start making repairs.

At 6:30 a.m. on Monday, he said crews were back out at the scene, working to the road passable for cars coming through the canyon.

"We needed to bring in about two feet of fill, so we mobilized trucks last night to start bringing that fill in, and spreading the fill, compacting the fill so we will have a gravel surface that we can put cars on," said Hinckley.

The rush to offer some type of fix for the problem comes as travelers try to head back from Labor Day getaways.

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Hinckley told FOX 13 News he doesn't anticipate that will cause much of a delay for drivers coming through the area.

Jorge Gomez was driving down US-6 near mile marker 228 on Sunday.

"We see a little bit of water going across the side of the trail there, and it got to the point where you saw trees and cones going all over the place," said Gomez. "It was a matter of seconds. It was real quick."

Gomez was able to capture video from his phone of the water coming down before he ultimately turned around.

"Everybody started turning around and we went back. I did see the water was getting rough," said Gomez.

On Monday, Gomez was heading to back his home in Wellington on US-6 from Salt Lake.

"There's no rush; I'm going to take my time," said Gomez.

On Sunday, eastbound traffic was diverted to U.S. 89 into Sanpete County while westbound traffic was diverted to U.S. 191, heading north into Duchesne County.

UDOT announced later Sunday night that multiple mudslides occurred on U.S. 191 as well, which has caused it to be closed to southbound traffic between Duchesne and Emma Park Road.

"Our crews are en route and will work hard to reopen the road by midnight, weather depending," a tweet from UDOT read.

"The mudslide on Highway 6 has caused significant damage to the roadway and infrastructure. Our UDOT team is mobilizing to begin repairs and get traffic moving as quickly as possible," Gov. Spencer Cox wrote on Twitter.