PROVO — Crews worked overnight Thursday and late into Friday to clear up to 30-feet-high snow that spilled on the highway in Provo Canyon.
"It's going really well. We've cut through a big chunk of it, and you can see through to the other side now," Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason told the Deseret News.
The canyon was reopened early Friday evening.
The department closed the canyon Thursday evening before triggering the avalanche as part of avalanche control efforts, Gleason said. The canyon remained closed after the snow overflowed onto all lanes of U.S. 189 just east of Bridal Veil Falls.
"This was really the best-case scenario. The whole idea behind avalanche control is to target these areas that are potential threats to the public and bring down these types of slides," he explained.2 comments on this story
"I don't think anybody was anticipating this amount of snow to come down, but it's really a good thing that it did come down when we were in the middle of avalanche control work and the canyon was closed, and there were no cars in the canyon," Gleason added.
While crews were trying to clear up the snow, traffic moved "pretty smoothly" through the frontage road, Gleason said.
He said if the avalanche had happened when there was traffic in the canyon, "the results could've been catastrophic."