The road is considered one of the most avalanche prone highways in North America. In particular, traffic congestion caused by avalanche and winter weather cause significant congestion that can take hours to clear.
Additionally, Little Cottonwood Canyon is an important watershed for the Salt Lake Valley and has many water-related features such as wetlands and Little Cottonwood Creek that require protection. The canyon contains considerable areas of wildlife habitat and wo designated wilderness areas, Lone Peak and Twin Peak. Water issues and wilderness designations affects implementation of many possible plans to ease congestion in this rapidly growing area.
Analysis of UDOT data indicate that crashes happen more frequently than on roadways with similar characteristics.
It is estimated that 70 tons of carbon is emitted by vehicles traveling through Little Cottonwood Canyon each year.
With increasing numbers of people accessing the canyon each year what can be done to preserve the natural beauty, wildlife, water and recreation resources? Should we dynamite the canyon to expand the roadway to make it safer and accommodate even more cars and buses? Should we dig tunnels to mitigate the danger of avalanches? The environmental and final costs would be sky high!
What do you think should be done?
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