Spring temperatures are turning up the heat on crews working to reopen Utah’s State Road 14 through Cedar Canyon in Central Utah after an October landslide sent nearly 1.5 tons of debris down onto the road.
The highway has been closed following the slide, which broke apart and closed nearly 2,000 ft of the road, burying it in up to 100 ft of debris in some sections.

The two-lane highway connects Interstate 15 and State Highway 89, passing near Cedar Breaks National Monument. Tourists, the owners of summer cabins, and ranchers looking to move livestock to summer ranges are pressing for the road to be reopened soon.

Kevin Kitchen, spokesman for the Central Region of the Utah Dept. of Transportation, says plans for getting the road reopened began after geotechnical engineers had fully assessed the slide area. “The engineers found the slide came down fast and hard, and that it is actually stable at a deep level,” he says.

So, rather than try to remove all the slide material and restore the road to the level of its original bed. Kitchen says engineers from UDOT, Kiewit (the general contractor for the project) and HDR developed a plan to remove some of the debris on top and move it to the foot of the slide, a solution that has proven successful with previous slides in the area.

“We also decided to move the road farther to the north and raise the profile a little,” says Kitchen. “We will only have to move about 400,000 cu yd of earth instead of over 1.1-million cu yd. We are going to cut the slopes back 2 to 1 (2 ft horizontal to 1 ft vertical) and move that material to the toe of the slide to stabilize it.”

Kiewit was hired to perform the work under a CM/GC contract that started in mid-March. Kitchen says the plan calls for a dirt road to be cleared for minimal traffic by June 1, with paving completed by mid-July. In addition to work on the slide area, Kitchen says the $7.1-million contract with Kiewit includes slope stabilization in two other areas along the road.