Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Natural Disaster That Shut Down Route 6 For Eight Months in 1983

For 8 months in 1983, you could not take US Route 6 on its complete course through Utah.  In April of that year, a hillside slammed into a mountain town, taking streets, buildings and railroad tracks with it; rendering US Route 6 a non-contiguous transcontinental route from April to December of that year.

Thistle, Utah, north of Green River (whitewater rafting central) and Price (home of the College of Eastern Utah) was a bustling railroad-service town until a sudden, massive landslide destroyed nearly everything. A main thoroughfare, US Route 6 was, along with the railroad, the most important connection to the outside world for communities north and west.  What is left of Thistle is considered a ghost town.

Route 6 was rerouted and re-built within 8 months, but was not stable enough for officials to declare it safe for another 10 months.  The highway now offers a pull-out from which to view the aftermath of the disaster and resulting landscape.

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