Those red roads that are a hallmark of Zion National Park will be getting a touch-up next week, and that could affect traffic in the park's famous canyon.
Beginning September 16, resurfacing of the roads will begin at the South Entrance at Springdale. The project will focus mostly on the 1.4-mile section of the main park highway from the South Entrance to the junction with the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, as well as the 6-mile Scenic Drive to the Temple of Sinawava.
The resurfacing is expected to take up to two weeks to complete, dependent upon weather and will be suspended over weekend. One lane travel, with traffic control, will be maintained; motorists may experience delays of 15 to 30 minutes. The Zion Canyon shuttle buses will continue to operate during the project.
Access to the Temple of Sinawava will be closed Wednesday, September 18, and park shuttles will go no farther than Big Bend that day. Later in the week, the Zion Human History Museum and parking lot will be closed and park shuttle buses will bypass the museum for a day.
While the Human History Museum is closed, ranger talks scheduled at 11:25 a.m. and 2:25 p.m. will be held at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Ranger-led shuttle tours will also be cancelled while the Scenic Drive itself is being resurfaced.
The road resurfacing involves chip sealing, which is coating the road with a combination of oil and rock chips. Local red cinders are used to create Zion’s signature red roads. The layer of chips must remain on the roads for two to three weeks before the remaining loose chips are swept and removed. During this time, motorists and bicyclists should be aware of the hazards of a layer of loose rock chips. Speed should be reduced to help prevent injuries or windshield damage from flying chips.