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Utah Landslide Buries Road Under 100 Feet Of Dirt

Utah Landslide Bryce Canyon Route 14

By JOSH LOFTIN   10/12/11 04:39 PM ET   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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Filed by James Gerken  |