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Cedar City • The Utah Department of Transportation will take to the air to assess damage to State Road 14 east of Cedar City after a massive landslide last weekend.

The agency estimated the road could remain closed for up to four months.

UDOT spokesman Kevin Kitchen said Tuesday that an aerial inspection will help in assessing damage from the slide, which destroyed a portion of the scenic highway that connects Cedar City and Interstate 15 to U.S. Highway 89.

Kitchen said UDOT estimates the slide was 1,700 feet long and moved 1.5 million cubic yards of soil, rocks and other debris. It is 100 feet deep in one spot.

"The aerial surveys will provide detailed points and measurements that can then be used by engineers to design a new roadway," Kitchen said.

After completing the design work, UDOT anticipates hiring a private construction company to do most of the work.

Authorities have no reports of anyone missing as a result of the slide, which was reported at 5 a.m. on Oct. 8.

Stream water that temporarily backed up behind debris early Saturday morning resumed flowing later in the day and poses no risk downstream, said Kitchen.

He said the slide occurred after precipitation in the area, combined with a freeze thaw cycle, caused rocks to flake and dislodge. This slide is reminiscent of one that hit the highway in the winter of 1992-93 in the same general vicinity. The slide is located at milepost 8, adjacent to the site covered by rockfall in December 2008, although most of the road was left intact.

The road remains closed between milepost 5 east of Cedar City and the junction of State Route 148, which closes until spring when snow becomes too deep.

Businesses on both sides of the slide and U.S 89 are accessible through alternate routes.