Unified Police Department announces policy change following traffic jam in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Unified Police Department has announced that it will be changing policies in response to heavy traffic delays that occurred after a serious traffic accident in Big Cottonwood Creek on Sunday.

In a Facebook post, the Unified Police Department announced that in response to future accidents in Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons, vehicles involved in the crash will remain where they are unless an active leak exists. These vehicles will then be removed during a time where the roads are less busy, according to the new policy.

The policy changes come in response to a two-vehicle crash that occurred near the S-turn in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which left 1 person in critical condition and 2 others with minor injuries.

Both roadways in the canyon were then closed for several hours while police responded to the crash.

In regards to the latest policy change, UPD posted on their Facebook page saying,

“UPD has received feedback regarding Sunday’s road closure in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which occurred after a serious traffic crash sent two vehicles down a steep embankment and into Big Cottonwood Creek.

UPD has been working with @udotcottonwoods, the ski resorts, and the watershed to address these concerns and identify opportunities to prevent similar situations in the future. Moving forward, unless an active leak exists in the river the vehicle will be left until a less busy time to remove it.

Please keep in mind that during the winter season, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons have only ONE point of entry. Certain events, including serious and/or multiple accidents, avalanche, extreme weather or other catastrophe may prevent vehicles from entering or exiting the canyons for extended periods of time.

Anytime you enter the canyons, please be prepared for these types of events by having a full tank of gas, water, food, and blankets. We will continue to work together to make things run smoothly, but safety is our priority.”

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