UDOT truck veers into Big Cottonwood Canyon canal, no water contamination suspected

Mar 20, 2023, 10:19 AM | Updated: 4:41 pm

truck crash big cottonwood canyon...

The scene of the crash is pictured on March 20, 2023. Lindsay Aerts/KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Department of Transportation truck veered into a canal in Big Cottonwood Canyon Monday morning, but authorities say it caused no threat to the drinking water.

Breaking down the situation:


The Unified Fire Department said it responded to a utility truck crash around 9:45 a.m. Monday.

The truck was a UDOT mechanic truck headed up the canyon to do work when it left the road, crashed through a fence and came to rest perched in the canal. It landed just below a dam where water treatment begins.

“If it would have been above that dam there maybe would have been some water quality concerns from leakage from that vehicle,” said Big Cottonwood Canyon Water Treatment Manager Russ Rank. “But because it was below that dam area no water came into the plant.”

No injuries were reported. According to Rank, the driver of the truck was able to pull himself out. Rank was one of the first to see the crash after hearing it first from his office.

“I heard a large crash, thumping sound, the building shook a little bit,” Rank said. “I went outside I saw smoke coming from the creek channel.”

Rank also said when he got outside the driver was conscious.

UFD said the truck leaked differential fluid, but that crews had cleaned up and contained the leak.

Hazmat crews were there to make sure no car fluids flowed into the nearby creek.

Truck lifted from canal

Later, the truck was hoisted from the canal. A crane was called in and KSL NewsRadio witnessed Rocky Mountain Power on the scene to monitor nearby power lines. 

It’s not known why the driver veered off the road.  UDOT said they will work with the police who will continue to investigate. 

“At this time we’re just thankful that our employee is okay,” said spokesman John Gleason. “It could have turned out a lot differently.” 

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UDOT truck veers into Big Cottonwood Canyon canal, no water contamination suspected