UDOT using drones to monitor holiday traffic in Cottonwood Canyons

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah -- A lot of people had Monday off for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and thousands of people headed to Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons for a day of skiing, snowboarding, sledding and hiking.

Officials with the Utah Department of Transportation used drones to monitor the holiday traffic.

The goal is to study traffic and parking patterns in an attempt to better manage traffic congestion in the canyons.

UDOT hopes to use the information to cut down on delays, especially on big powder days.

"Every year we see more and more people using the canyons for everything Utah has to offer," UDOT Spokesman John Gleason said. "We want to encourage that but we want to make sure that we can look at ways we can cut down on some of that congestion so that people can have a more enjoyable experience."

This is part of an environmental impact study that is expected to be completed later this summer. UDOT has already completed a public comment phase.

Officials say they're looking for a balance between enjoying the natural beauty in the canyons and not ruining the experience through overcrowding and traffic jams.

Results of Monday's study should be released by summer.

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