Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel honored as Historic Civil Engineering Landmark


ZION NATIONAL PARK – American Society of Civil Engineers President, Andrew W. Herrmann,

and Zion National Park Superintendent, Jock Whitworth, will host a dedication 

ceremony designating the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel as a National

Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.


Whitworth invites the 

public to the ceremony at the South Campground Amphitheater in Zion

National Park on May 18 at 2 p.m. to celebrate this honor.


The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel go where no road had gone before: up

Pine Creek Canyon, through the Navajo sandstone cliffs, and east across the

slickrock of the plateau.


Over a three-year period, early in the 20th Century, this improbable route

presented unique and dangerous challenges to the hardworking crews, who began work on opposite ends of the road. On the western side, a series of 

six switchbacks was carved from the canyon floor up. On the eastern side,
 crews blasted their way through a sea of slickrock sandstone.


The most

significant challenge was the arduous task of constructing the 1.1 mile

tunnel through the heart of Zion’s sandstone cliffs. On July 3, 1930, work 

was completed, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel were officially 

designated and opened to the public.


ASCE, America’s oldest national engineering society, was founded in 1852 

and represents more than 147,000 members of the civil engineering 

profession worldwide. The ASCE’s Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

Program recognizes historically significant local, national, and 

international civil engineering projects, structures, and sites. The HCEL 

was created to recognize and encourage preservation of landmarks, as well

 as promote historical awareness of civil engineering, both professionally 

and to the general public. Local, national and international landmark

sites are eligible for nominations to HCEL status.  In order to be selected 

as a historic landmark, the site must be of historic civil engineering

 significance, structurally or technically unique, at least 50 years old, accessible to the public and approved for HCEL status by the owner of the 

structure.  Additional information about ASCE’s HCEL program can be found on its website.

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