PROVO — Provo Canyon was closed after an avalanche spilled up to 30 feet of snow on the road Thursday evening, troopers said.
The Utah Highway Patrol said snow is covering all lanes of U.S. 189 in the area of the avalanche and cleanup is expected to take hours.
"With U.S. 189 currently closed while crews clear the snow, drivers connecting to and from Utah and Wasatch counties should consider using I-15, I-80, and U.S. 40," the Utah Department of Transportation tweeted.
The department also said that its crews triggered the avalanche as part of avalanche control efforts in Provo Canyon.
John Gleason, department spokesman, said the canyon was closed at 6 p.m. before crews began the control work.
"When you look at an area of concern on the side of the mountain, we don’t always know what's going to come down and this is one of the biggest ones that we’ve seen," Gleason said.7 comments on this story
"The snow is really heavy, there’s a lot of it, and it just completely buried the road. That’s actually the best result right now given the fact that this could have come down when the road was open … had we not done the control work … and onto cars," he added.
No people were caught in the avalanche, officials said.
Meanwhile, a rock slide on state Route 92 in American Fork Canyon was also keeping troopers in Utah County busy.
"Unrelated to the avalanche, but there are several-hundred-pound boulders blocking the road. Heavy rain is causing some serious issues in our canyons right now," the UHP tweeted.
Gleason said that as canyon and mountain areas are hit by snow, crews will be working through the night to make sure the roads are safe.