OGDEN -- Temperatures hovered around 15 degrees and the sun remained hidden behind the mountains Tuesday morning as crews worked to remove concrete barriers from the Ogden River.
Work started about 9 a.m., while Weber County sheriff's deputies closed off the stretch of State Road 39 between Mile Marker 9, at the mouth of the Ogden Canyon, and Mile Marker 14, at Pineview Dam, during the project.
As soon as traffic stopped, maintenance station supervisor Bill Smith and his Utah Department of Transportation crew out of Huntsville got to work.
Normally, the crew tries to prevent the barriers from falling into the river.
"Usually, if we see that somebody rubbed them," Smith said, "we usually come in and pull them back in."
This time, the crew could not prevent the barriers from getting wet.
Overlength semi-trucks knocked the Jersey barriers into the river when they detoured into the canyon Nov. 6 after a 26-vehicle crash on Interstate 84 in Weber Canyon.
Tuesday's closure meant Ogden Canyon residents could reach their homes only through Huntsville from State Road 167 and Interstate 84, or via the North Ogden Divide and State Road 158 from Liberty.
The crew began by using a blowtorch to separate the barriers that were still connected.
Because most of the barriers are lashed together, if one is pulled in, others go down with it.
"It's just dominoes," Smith said.
A hired trackhoe picked the barriers from the banks of the Ogden River.
Once the barriers had been fished out, the hard part began.
The crew had to delicately guide the barriers onto a flatbed truck. Each of the 12.5-foot barriers weighs thousands of pounds.
Smith said the total project took an hour and 45 minutes to complete.
"We don't want to keep traffic stopped absolutely longer than we need to," Smith said.
After the barriers are carried away, they will be broken down, have the rebar removed and will probably be reused as fill material.
UDOT crew member Jim Pouter is glad to clean out the barriers.
"This is a part of the canyon that is historic," Poulter said, "so we do as little damage as we can."
It is UDOT's policy to keep the Ogden River clean.
"We don't put anything in the river," Poulter said. "This is one of the most beautiful rivers there is."