A rebuilding of the road through Arches National Park in Utah will require that it be closed nightly beginning in March and continuing through November.
Park officials say the road will be closed from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Nighttime closure of the park road is necessary to maximize visitor and contractor safety.
The road will be closed to all use, including by vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles. Conducting this work at night will help alleviate travel impacts during the day when the park is busiest.
A specific start date for the night time closure is not yet available, but is generally expected to be sometime in March or April. Once the closure begins, visitors must be out of the park by 7 p.m. At this time, construction crews plan to work on the road Sunday night through Thursday night, with no road closure Friday and Saturday nights.
A preliminary construction schedule is expected by mid-March and will be posted on the park’s website. Given the many variables that can impact road projects of this type and scope, the schedule will be subject to change.
Limited daytime road closures may still occur even with night time work. Construction crews will use pilot cars and flaggers to control traffic during the day. When partial, daytime road closures are in effect, crews will limit traffic delays to 30 minutes or less per work zone. Some roadway surfaces throughout the park will be covered in loose gravel, so drivers should proceed even more cautiously and slowly in those locations.
During the day, some areas of Arches National Park may require full road and area closures, such as at Devils Garden, Fiery Furnace and The Windows. Area closures may be up to four weeks long for each area. In order to maximize staff and visitor safety, the park may also close trails in those areas. The park will reopen roads and trails once area construction work is completed.
Devils Garden Campground will be closed March 1 through November 30.
Since the construction schedule is subject to change, the park cannot offer advance reservations for ranger-led Fiery Furnace hikes in 2017. Instead, all hike tickets will be sold in person at Arches Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets may be purchased up to seven days in advance.
The park planned this road work for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. However, if work progresses more quickly the project may conclude in 2017.
Road work will resurface, restore, and rehabilitate approximately 26 miles of roads and pullouts in Arches National Park along the entrance road (from U.S. Highway 191 to the visitor center), main park road, the campground road, and other spur roads and loops.
Work will include pulverizing and resurfacing all paved roads; removing and replacing the bridge rail at Courthouse Wash bridge; formalizing pull-offs; conducting drainage work near the entrance station; constructing a new entry lane; constructing a roundabout along the entrance lane; and, building a turnaround lane at The Windows loop road.
While construction crews will make every effort to minimize disruption to visitor daytime travel and activities during this project, visitors should expect frequent delays and closures.
Visitors to the Moab area who may not be able to access specific areas or hikes within Arches National Park while road work is underway can find a wide variety of spectacular scenery and hikes in other public lands around the region. Information about these other travel and hiking options can be found on the Moab Travel Council’s website: http://www.discovermoab.com/.