New traffic plan on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to alleviate congestion

Feb 21, 2023, 8:01 AM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 12:52 pm

SANDY, Utah — As Utah braces for several big snow days this week, drivers need to be prepared for traffic changes in Sandy aimed at alleviating the nightmare that builds along Little Cottonwood Road.

“Everyone is coming up to ski. They want that fresh powder. We can’t blame them, but the problem is it’s creating such a traffic hazard it’s a public safety issue,” said Sgt. Greg Moffitt with the Sandy City Police Department.

In recent weeks, KSL TV has highlighted the miles of back up on Little Cottonwood Road when the canyon closes for weather or avalanche control, in some cases blocking driveways and intersections. Last week, Sandy City officials met with the police and fire department, Utah Highway Patrol, Unified police, and city officials from Cottonwood Heights to address the issue.

“The resolution that came out of that meeting was to try to rearrange this parking and traffic issue,” Moffitt said.

(Sandy City)

Sandy City said starting this week, anytime there is a closure of Little Cottonwood Canyon, traffic will be diverted from Little Cottonwood Road south onto Wasatch Boulevard. Wasatch Boulevard is a bigger road with a bike lane, giving vehicles lining up north a bigger shoulder to stage in while still allowing traffic to move through the area.

“We can’t change that we’re going to have thousands of cars trying to get up to the ski resort, but what we are trying to do is alleviate the lack of flow on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road,” Moffitt said.

Sandy officials looking for solutions dealing with ski traffic blocking roads

Sandy police suggested drivers skip Little Cottonwood Road all together when wanting to get to the resorts on big snow days, and instead make their way up to Wasatch Boulevard by using 11400 South or 12600 South to get into the cue.

The vehicles along Wasatch will be allowed into the canyon first.

“If you are a skier and that is your plan, you are going to see reader boards we are going to have up directing you to line up on Wasatch,” Moffitt said.

Drivers coming south on Wasatch Boulevard will have to make a U-turn at some point to get into the cue; Sandy police say they will have designated areas for doing that.

Moffit warned drivers to pay attention and to not block driveways or intersections as they get in line.

“If you are found in that position, we are going to have officers come and ask you to move,” he said. “The bad part is, if you don’t follow these rules and you’re blocking a driveway or intersection, you’ll end up going to the back of the cue.”

Sandy City said once this new traffic option is tested, they’ll determine if it alleviates the congestion on Little Cottonwood Road or just shifts it to Wasatch Boulevard.

“This is the going to be the first time we do it,” Moffitt said. “We hope it provides a better resolution and better flow.”

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New traffic plan on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road to alleviate congestion