Damaged SR14 near Cedar City may reopen in June

Last modified on Oct 17, 2013

State Road 14 • Landslide left enough debris to fill 40,000 dump trucks.

State Road 14 • Landslide left enough debris to fill 40,000 dump trucks.

By Mark Havnes

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: February 13, 2012 05:34PM

Road closure State Road 14 east of Cedar City probably won't open until next June due to a landslide.

Cedar City • The massive landslide that buried a 2,000-foot strip of State Road 14 eight miles outside of Cedar City and closed a major asphalt artery to U.S. Highway 89, could be cleared enough by June to allow traffic to resume, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

UDOT will host a public open house on the cause of the slide and the $10 million repair project on Feb. 23 in Cedar City. Officials will discuss future alignment options for the road, which is in an area with a history of landslides. UDOT spokesman Kevin Kitchen said Monday that officials hope to have traffic moving through the slide area by early June.

The slide occurred on Oct. 8, cutting off a major access to popular Cedar Mountain, where areas around the Dixie National Forest are peppered with private homes and recreational properties supported by a strong Las Vegas contingent. The slide contained enough material to fill 40,000 dump trucks or 122 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Businesses that depend on visitor traffic to Cedar Mountain have felt the effects of the slide at their cash registers as potential customers travel to their properties by other routes. Douglas Stadtlander, who operates a Tru-Value Hardware Store in Duck Creek Village along the highway 24 miles east of Cedar City, said contractors who work on the mountain are planning their projects so they don’t have to depend on driving to his store for materials. “They don’t want to take a chance that I may not have [a product],” said Stadtlander, adding that he has seen sales on some products drop about 30 percent since the slide. “A lot of it has to do with recreational business,” he said. “I have only five months to make money and as long as the detours are up, my [recreation] business is done.”

Rusty Aiken, who has two upscale steak house restaurants on SR14, said he can weather this winter economically, but is nervous about the summer season. He said he has heard from other business owners who complain sales are off because of the slide, especially those on Cedar Mountain who depend on Cedar City for supplies and services. He is hoping the road can open by June, but does not think any repairs will last. “It’s not a fixable solution,” he said of the latest efforts. “Eventually you’re going to have to build a bridge up the canyon and let [slides occur] on either side.”

Brennan Wood, economic development director for Cedar City and Iron County, said he doesn’t have firm numbers but that businesses serving the second-home crowd are down in Cedar City because that is where they usually stop for supplies. “They are … using alternate routes,” he said of lost visitors. Wood and other business leaders are looking forward to the open house so they can express their concerns.

Kitchen said the slide has focused attention on the canyon’s geology, and other sections of the 40-mile road will be studied for potential problems. He said the first $3 million will be spent on devising a strategy for clearing the debris, which is more than 100 feet deep in places.

mhavnes@sltrib.com

Open house--The Utah Department of Transportation will host an open house to update the public on efforts to reopen State Road 14, closed by a massive landslide Oct. 8. UDOT workers will be on hand to answer questions about the timeline for opening the road and alternatives for its future route.

When • Feb. 23, 4-7 p.m.

Where • Festival Hall, 105 N. 100 East, Cedar City.

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