Water main break and mudslide close Ogden Canyon

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:33 PM

OGDEN — Ogden Canyon was closed Wednesday afternoon after a waterline ruptured, causing a landslide that covered a large portion of the canyon road. Officials later said the road was expected to be reopened by early evening.

The slide occurred at about noon, approximately 200 yards east of the waterfall at the mouth of the canyon.

The 24-inch waterline, which was operated by Ogden City and scheduled for replacement, caused a torrent of water and debris to rain down upon State Route 39, the Ogden Canyon Highway.

Several cement safety barriers lining the highway were knocked into the Ogden River and had to be removed and replaced along the roadway before traffic could be safely restored.

Kenton Moffett, Ogden City’s water utility manager, was on the scene when the pipeline burst and the subsequent landslide began.

“There was just a ton of force rushing down the mountain,” Moffett said. “You saw what it did to those big cement barriers — it moved them like they were nothing. We’re just thankful nobody was hurt.”

The slide occurred in an unpopulated area of the canyon, so no homes were damaged either.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Vic Saunders said that because of the narrowness of this section of Ogden Canyon, the highway had to remain closed during the clean-up and barrier replacement efforts.

“We want to make sure it’s totally safe before we start letting people through here again,” said Ogden City Engineer Justin Anderson.

Officials say the portion of the road that was covered by the slide seems to have held up pretty well and it was expected that traffic would begin moving through the canyon by early evening Wednesday.

All of Ogden Canyon east of the slide area remains accessible from Huntsville, so motorists should use Interstate 84 and SR-167, the North Ogden Divide and the Trappers Loop Highway to access homes and recreational areas in the canyon.

Ogden City has been working for the past five months to replace the waterline that failed, and work on the new line was recently completed.

Moffett said the incident won’t significantly delay progress on the project, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of July.

For more information about this incident, go to udottraffic.utah.gov for updates on the progress of the clean-up and road reopening.

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