Snow storm triggers avalanche; car accidents

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utahn’s woke up to a snowy morning and a rough commute.  The Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol were busy today clearing the roads and attending to car accidents.

The storm creating a bit of chaos on the roads, as accidents were prominent all throughout the valley.

“We’ve had crashes pretty much all day long,” says Lt. Beau Mason with the Utah Highway Patrol, “It hasn’t been anything overwhelming but it’s been constant from the start of the day,” he says.

UHP reports over 85 car accidents with about 25 slide-offs throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Fortunately, no major injuries were reported.

“We’ve had a lot of low speed accidents due to the weather, so that’s why we’ve been lucky with the injuries, the snow storm,” said Lt. Mason.

The snow storm packed a pretty hard punch up in the mountain triggering an avalanche up at American Fork Canyon.

“We had to close down Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning for about two-and-a-half to three hours this morning so we could do some control work, we had an avalanche in American Fork Canyon,” says Utah Department of Transportation Spokesperson John Gleason.

But, UDOT was aware of the danger and closed off the canyon last night before the storm hit, but it left them with a big mess to clean up this morning.

“They’re gonna be opening, the estimated time will be around 5 o’clock but, that’s give or take, that just depends on how long the clean up takes and the risk for further avalanches,” says Gleason.

UDOT says this storm couldn’t have come at a better time as it hit when less people are on the roads.

“That gave our crews the chance to get out, plow the roads, make them sage where as this storm had happened on a Monday during the morning or evening commute, we may have been looking at more crashes,” says Gleason.

Whatever the reason, the message is still the same when driving in these conditions.  Always drive for the conditions, leave yourself plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles and plenty of space to break, and finally allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.


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