Rock slides/debris close SR-31 again
On Sept. 2, areas of the Seeley burn scar in Huntington Canyon received a large amount of precipitation which resulted in SR-31 being closed at approximately 5 p.m. due to large debris flows. The debris flows came out of North Hughes Canyon at MP23.5, South Hughes Canyon at MP24.5, Engineer Canyon at MP25.5, Mill Canyon at MP26 and Day Canyon at MP26.5. The largest debris flows came out of South Hughes Canyon and Mill Canyon. The large volume of water going down Huntington Creek damaged the shoulder of the road in several places, and the gabion baskets near Stuart Guard Station at MP28 have fallen into the creek. At Mill Canyon, the debris flow has filled the creek channel and the water is now running along the side of the road. It is estimated that SR31 through Huntington Canyon will be closed from Crandall Canyon MP33 to Miller's Flat junction MP18 for a week. UDOT is working on reopening the highway.
This is the third time since the Seeley Fire that SR-31 has been closed for a significant amount of time. The closure of SR-31 has a great impact on the workers that travel the canyon daily for work at the power plant, coal mines and construction sites. The debris flows into Huntington Creek compromise the quality of the water entering the power plant and irrigation systems. It is anticipated that this will be an ongoing occurrence for the next few years during rain events, spring runoff and possible avalanches in the winter.
SR-31 reopened on Friday but caution is recommended in the burn area and avoid the canyon when rain is threatening.