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UDOT warning drivers of potential traffic nightmare on I-80

PARLEY’S CANYON – The Utah Department of Transportation is trying to get the word out about a huge traffic project that will cause headaches for people living in Park City next week.  Crews will close down sections of I-80 in Parley’s Canyon, and there’s no quick way around it for drivers.

Construction crews will be placing a new wildlife crossing bridge over I-80 in Parley’s Canyon.  Spokesman John Gleason says there are frequent accidents along that stretch of the freeway, and the crossing could go a long way in reducing those crashes.  However, the girders that need to be installed are massive.

“There are 12 steel beams that weigh a total of 240 thousand pounds.  That’s as much as an adult blue whale,” Gleason says.

Department engineers believe there isn’t any way to safely place the girders without closing off the freeway between Jeremy Ranch and Lamb’s Canyon.

Gleason acknowledges, “There’s, unfortunately, not a frontage road there that connects to I-80 in both places.  So, there’s not really a good alternative there.”

Tuesday night, the westbound lanes will be closed off between eight p.m. and six a.m.  On Wednesday night, the eastbound lanes will be closed off between those same hours.  Gleason says there are two “best” alternates (although, he admits neither one are great).  Someone could use I-84, starting in Ogden, or they could start with Highway 189 in Provo.  Both routes will force drivers to spend a lot of extra time on the road.

“It’s significant extra time.  We’re talking 90 minutes, if you live in Park City,” Gleason says, adding, “The best advice we can give is just avoid driving in Parley’s Canyon on those two nights.”

The original plans called for four nights of closures, but they reduced it to two.

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