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Utah Landslide Buries Road Under 100 Feet Of Dirt

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UTAH LANDSLIDE BRYCE CANYON ROUTE 14
In this photo dated Saturday Oct. 8,2011 released by the Utah Department of Transportation showing a road worker walking along destroyed state Route 14, a scenic road east of Cedar City in southwestern Utah often used by tourists traveling to Bryce Canyon National Park. Utah transportation officials have closed the state highway east of Cedar City after a massive landslide buried part of the roadway in about 100 feet of dirt and rock. (AP Photo/Utah Department of Transportation) | AP

SALT LAKE CITY -- A massive weekend landslide in southern Utah has closed a state highway used by residents and tourists to get to grazing land for cattle and Bryce Canyon National Park.

About 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt, rock and debris slid down a steep ravine, destroying nearly a quarter-mile of state Route 14, said Kevin Kitchen, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation.

The landslide was eight miles east of Cedar City. It was 1,700 feet in length and left behind debris about a hundred feet deep, he said.

Kitchen said that although the road is used mostly by residents, it is also used by truckers traveling through central Utah and tourists because "it is the most direct route from Cedar City" to U.S. 89. That highway leads to destinations such as Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park.

About 12 miles of the highway will be closed, Kitchen said.

The road also is the preferred route for ranchers hauling cattle down from summer grazing lands.

"It's not going to be easy," rancher Jim Hunt told The Spectrum of St. George. "We got to get the cattle off the mountain soon, and this landslide is dumped on our lap. We just have to finagle away around the back roads."

The cost of repairs was not immediately known, but Kitchen said a similar slide in the area during the 1990s cost nearly $4 million to repair, Kitchen said.

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