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Late season snow keeps high mountain roads closed

Published: Wednesday, May 11 2011 3:37 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — It could be weeks before Utahns will be able to travel on some of the state's high mountain roads.

Utah Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tania Mashburn said some of the roads crews usually try to open by Memorial Day aren't likely to be opened until mid-to-late June.

"Some of our seasonal roads still have drifts of 15 to 20 feet of snow," Mashburn said.

The roads include state Route 65 in East Canyon, the Mirror Lake Highway, the Alpine Loop above American Fork and Cedar Breaks in southern Utah.

"Usually by the beginning of April or so is when we start to try to get in there and start to clear those roads," Mashburn said. "And just because we haven't been able to start yet, that's pushing it back further than we normally would like."

Even if UDOT went to the expense of clearing the roads, Mashburn said people wouldn't be able to get far off the roads.

And there's another, more pressing issue of clearing late season snow in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. "We're really focusing on some of our snow removal budget to work on those," she said.

UDOT hopes enough snow will have melted by mid-June to allow plows to begin cleaning up the roads.

Below is the complete list of Utah's seasonal roads:

 State Route 35 Wolf Creek Pass (Francis to Hanna)

 State Route 39 Monte Cristo (east of Ogden)

 State Route 65 East Canyon (I-80 in Parleys Canyon to I-84 near Henefer)

 State Route 92 American Fork Canyon/Alpine Loop (Utah County)

 State Route 148 Cedar Breaks (east of Cedar City)

 State Route 150 Mirror Lake Highway (east of Kamas to Bear River Lodge)

 State Route 153 Mount Holly Junction (east of Beaver)

Email: mgiauque@desnews.com

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