Falling sand closes Zion National Park tunnel, east entrance

Updated May 19, 2017 - 7:01 pm

A major swath of roadway in Utah’s Zion National Park is closed until further notice due to a “continuous stream” of falling sand and rock debris, officials announced Friday afternoon.

The portion of roadway affected is on Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which connects Springdale, Utah, to Highway 89 at Mount Carmel Junction, east of the park.

The closure begins at the turnoff for the Zion Lodge (Canyon Junction), and the closure ends at the park’s east entrance, which is about 16 miles west of Mount Carmel Junction.

The park’s west entrance at Springdale remains open, and all park services and facilities — including the visitor center, museum, campgrounds and shuttle buses — will operate as normal.

“Park officials have assessed the falling debris and decided to close the road until hazard geologists from the Utah Geological Survey can be on site for further evaluation,” a park statement released Friday read. “The road will reopen once the fall has stopped and officials deem it safe.”

Alternate east-and-west routes, which do not run through the park, include:

Highway 59 from Hurricane, Utah to Fredonia, Arizona.

Highway 14 from Cedar City, Utah to Highway 89 at Long Valley Junction.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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