March 30, 2021 – SPRINGDALE, UT – Construction for the bridge and tunnel preservation project will begin on the night of April 4, 2021 with anticipated completion on August 28, 2021. In 2017, bridges and tunnels along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway were inspected and are considered safe, but attention is recommended to increase service life and avoid major rehabilitation needs. The main goals of this project include general maintenance, historic preservation, and updating traffic safety devices.
Construction is scheduled to begin on the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) and will continue for 50 consecutive days. The weekly construction schedule is as follows: Sunday 7:00 PM MDT work start, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 5:00 AM MDT work stop). No construction is scheduled to occur over the weekends from Friday 5:00 AM MDT to Sunday 10:00 PM MDT.
During the weekly construction schedule, tunnel hours for oversized vehicle operations will end at 7:00 PM MDT. One-way traffic control will be provided from 7:00 PM MDT to 10:00 PM MDT. A full closure to ALL vehicle traffic will be implemented in the tunnels Sunday through Friday from 10:00PM MDT to 5:00AM MDT. To accommodate anticipated seasonal increases in visitor traffic, oversized vehicle operation hours will change to end at 8:00PM MDT beginning April 23, 2021.
Proceeding with construction and full closures at night is anticipated to decrease traffic congestion, reduce visitor impacts, as well as facilitate safe and efficient working environment for the construction crew.
Strategic vehicle closures will also help reduce impacts from artificial light intrusion on night skies and wildlife.
Construction on the North Fork Virgin River Bridge and East Portal Bridge will occur during normal business hours so visitors should anticipate minor delays. One lane of vehicle travel will be provided throughout the construction period on the bridges.
Construction of the 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920’s and was completed in 1930. At the time that the tunnel was dedicated, on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States. The purpose of building the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) was to create direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Zion National Park. Today the tunnel is basically the same as it was upon its completion over eighty years ago. This preservation project will improve the safety of the bridges and tunnels in Zion National Park.