With the end in sight, nightly closures of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway through Zion National Park will come to an end Friday, according to park officials.
Superintendent Jock Whitworth says cyclists, who have been prohibited from using the highway since construction got under way back in June, are now allowed to travel on the roadway. Restricted hours for large vehicles crossing the park through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel remain in place year-round, however.
Tunnel hours for large vehicles 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider and/or 11 feet 4 inches tall or taller are currently 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. every day, vehicles exceeding these dimensions cannot pass through Zion National Park on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and must use an alternate route.
There is less than a half-mile of paving on the 9 ½ mile long project left to complete. Rain last week kept the paving crew from finishing the last section near the west portal of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Construction crews are waiting for more favorable weather conditions to arrive to finish this stretch of road.
Because of this, the final end date of October 28 for the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Reconstruction Project has been postponed, park officials said in a release. Although there will not be night closures, residents and travelers should expect short traffic delays over the next few weeks as crews complete the finishing touches on roadway shoulders, clean up construction debris, and remove equipment, they said. Weather permitting, the contractor expects all work to be completed by mid-November.
Final sealing and striping of the new roadway will require one or two daytime closures as soon as possible after the last of the roadway has been paved. The exact dates and times of the closures will be announced when they are determined. Because of the unpredictable nature of the weather at this time of the year, the notice for these closures may be announced within a few days of them happening.
The Park Service will provide as early notification as possible. Residents and travelers can call 435-772-3256 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/zion for construction updates.