SALT LAKE CITY — Guardsman Pass is usually open between May and October each year. It’s a popular road that connects Park City and the ski resorts in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Heavy snowfall makes it impassable during winter months. But, the pass usually reopens around Memorial Day.
This year, UDOT is choosing not to reopen Guardsman Pass, along with several other seasonal roads in Utah like Mirror Lake Hwy outside of Kamas, Monte Cristo Scenic Drive around Pineview Reservoir, and Hwy 35 in Duchesne County due to budgetary reasons.
Spokesman John Gleason stated, “it would be fiscally irresponsible to spend the money to plow these roads with the amount of snow on them right now.” He adds, “just like everyone else, the coronavirus has everyone unsure of their money situation.”
Similar to previous years
This is not unlike other years when UDOT spent well past its budget because of heavy snowfall.
“Just like the 2018/2019 winter season,” Gleason said, “UDOT spent about $31,000,000.00 on snow removal, but our budget was set at $24.5 Million.” They delayed plowing all the seasonal roads last year as well, which pushed back their opening into June.
Gleason notes it’s much less expensive to plow the back roads when 2-feet of snow, or less, is on them.
And that’s what they’ll do this year. Wait for more of the snow to melt.
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