A 110-foot, 62-year-old bridge on Highway 95 in San Juan County has been compromised by the collapse of sandstone that was holding up the footing of one of the bridge abutments.
“Engineers say it appears high flows in the wash during flash flooding scoured a lower layer of rock away, leaving the upper layer of rock unsupported,” read an Aug. 6 press release from the Utah Department of Transportation.
Photos show huge sandstone boulders calved off from beneath the concrete abutment, leaving a substantial section of the bridge support hanging over empty space.
UDOT has closed a 28-mile section of Highway 95 between the junction with Highway 191 to the east and the junction with Highway 261 to the west. The closure will be in effect for at least 60 more days. That stretch of highway gives access to recreation areas and cultural sites like Cedar Mesa, Butler Wash and Mule Canyon.
To route around the closure, UDOT recommends using Interstate 70 to State Route 24, through Hanksville, for paved access to upper Lake Powell and outdoor recreation areas west of Blanding.