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Contact: Erik DeGroat, 435-772-0180
Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced that starting Monday, October 4, 2010 the park will reinstate the special use fee for large vehicles to travel through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The tunnel fee has been temporarily waived since August 17th due to work on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Reconstruction Project. The Canyon Overlook parking lot, which has been closed due to the construction, will also open October 4th.
The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel was completed in 1930 and was not designed wide or tall enough to accommodate large vehicles in one lane. The park charges a $15 fee to vehicles 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider and/or 11 feet 4 inches tall or taller for two trips through the tunnel in a seven day period. Vehicles over these dimensions, including most motor homes, trailers, buses and dual wheeled pickup trucks, do not have enough room to safely pass oncoming traffic. The collected fees pay for park rangers to provide one way travel for traffic through the narrow 1.1 mile long tunnel. Prohibitions on semi trucks, combination vehicles over 50 feet long and any vehicle over 13 feet 1 inch tall always remain in effect.
Starting October 4th, tunnel hours for large vehicles will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day. Between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. every day, large vehicles cannot pass through Zion National Park on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and must use an alternate route.
Alternate routes for travelers between US Highway 89 and Zion Canyon are Utah SR 59 from Hurricane to Arizona SR 389(1.5 hours—good for large vehicles); Utah SR 14 from Cedar City to Long Valley Junction (2 hours—steep grades/curves); or from I-15 to Utah SR 20 (2 hours—good for large vehicles).
The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is closed to all vehicles 8pm to 8am Sunday through Thursday nights. The road is open to passenger cars 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all times from Friday at 8:00 a.m. to Sunday at 8:00 p.m. The closure hours for passenger cars will lift when the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Reconstruction Project is completed. The expected completion date is October 28, 2010.
For updated Zion-Mt Carmel Highway construction information, call 435-772-3256 (press 1, then 4) or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/zion.