WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A new off-highway vehicle, OHV, access tunnel is set to open in early 2021 at Sand Hollow State Park near St. George. Highway construction near the reservoir required a new OHV tunnel from the reservoir to the dunes.

“Construction will not be completed until probably April however they are nearing completion of the tunnel and expect to have a completed tunnel by the first of February,” says park manager Jonathan Hunt.

The new tunnel will be specifically for OHV to travel under from the lake, underneath the road, and to the sand dunes. OHVs include four-wheelers, dirt bikes, motorcycles, trail bikes, side-by-sides, and other vehicles similar to those.

The new and improved tunnel will see major improvements compared to the last tunnel that went under the road. Hunt says that in the past, taller jeeps couldn’t fit through the tunnel but now the tunnel is taller and will allow larger vehicles to pass through. The tunnel will be about 200 feet long and will be a single file tunnel meaning you’ll have to wait for somebody passing through from the other side until your vehicle can enter the tunnel and pass through.

“Back in the day there was no road or no lake or anything so now they have found that this is the right way to get people from Hurricane to St. George. So, originally when they put the road in, they created a tunnel but with the widening improvements of this upcoming road to hold more people, they had to tear out the original tunnel and they have had to replace it with a larger, taller, should be a better, tunnel,” Hunt shares.

Over the years, Sand Hollow State Park has seen an increase in visitors, and the new tunnel will certainly be an asset to the growing number of adventure seekers.

“On slow days we might have 30 or 40 vehicles go through the tunnel,” Hunt says, “but when the park is heavily used, you are talking easily 1,000 vehicles a day will go through that tunnel so it is going to be a highly used part of the park.”

While the tunnel isn’t officially complete and there are still some finishing touches needing to be done on the project. Hunt says that the new tunnel is expected to be in full use for the Winter 4×4 Jamboree set to take place at the state park in January.

Although winter isn’t the most popular time for tourists to visit the park, Hunt would like to remind people that the park is open and ready for visitors throughout the winter.

“This time of year is our slower time, as far as visitation goes, but we want to remind people that we are open and winter in Southern Utah and St. George is fantastic and we would encourage people to come down and check out the park and the tunnel that provides access to the sand dunes.”