A day after it was closed by a rain storm, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway at Zion National Park reopened Thursday, although motorists were cautioned to expect a section of rough road.
Debris carried by floodwaters Wednesday plugged a culvert under the highway about a mile from the small tunnel. Water backed up, crossing the roadway and starting to undermine the opposite lane. Traffic was shut down through the park while the park’s road crew worked heroically to save the road. No additional damage occurred over night, which allowed road crews to finish stabilizing the section and reopen it Thursday.
Drivers should expect a rough gravel patch for the next few days. Road crews will also be pouring cement caps on either side of the road to further stabilize the culvert. During that work, drivers should expect one-way traffic and up to 15 minute delays.
The east side of the park received over an inch of rain Wednesday in just a few hours. The extraordinary volume of water overwhelmed the drainage system and damaged the road.
More rain is expected over the next few days. Slot canyons, including The Narrows, were expected to experience flash flooding Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well. Please consult the weather forecast and the Flash Flood Potential Rating before entering a narrow canyon.