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Traffic stopped on I-80 during blasting in Parleys Canyon pit

 UDOT camera shows traffic stoppage on I-80 because of blasting at Parleys Canyon pit
UDOT camera shows traffic stoppage on I-80 because of blasting at the Parleys Canyon pit.

Traffic on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon came to a standstill Saturday and Sunday morning while blasts were happening at the Parleys Canyon pit.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 were stopped intermittently during the early morning hours over the weekend.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers were tasked with public safety oversight while Kilgore, the company that owns the pit in Parleys Canyon, detonated explosives.

While this may have been a surprise to those motorists who were caught in the slow down, trooper Mikki Tucker says this isn’t the first time UHP has been called in to help with mining operation safety.

“We've been doing these stops of traffic, which we call slowdowns, we've been doing them for the last few years, but this year, it looks like we started doing them just this last weekend was the first time for this year,” said Tucker. “So we typically try and do them before winter comes around is the time that they try and get these blastings done.”

Tucker says Kilgore contracts with the UHP to hire troopers to stop traffic during the blasting. Typically, off-duty troopers take the shifts to earn overtime pay. They work to not only protect drivers from flying debris, but also clean up the roadway afterward.

“Specifically when they do these blastings, a lot of debris such as rocks and dirt gets thrown into the lanes of travel on I-80,” said Tucker. “So we typically have two troopers set up, one on each side of the highway, one on the eastbound side and one on the westbound side, and they'll do slowdowns to get traffic completely stopped so that they can go out and remove any kind of debris such as rock, large rocks, or dirt or anything like that, that would cause a hazard to traffic.”

Kilgore did not respond in time for this report regarding a schedule for future blasting work.

Tucker says she didn’t see any more requests from Kilgore for overtime shifts, so it’s possible travelers won’t see any blast-related traffic issues for the remainder of October.