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GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- The state highway that runs through the Grand Canyon is closing Thursday morning after visitors disregarded the park closure.

Residents of Grand Canyon Village still can access State Route 64.

The Grand Canyon was forced to turn away visitors after the federal government shut down.

The highway had been open to through traffic, but visitors were pulling off the road and removing barricades from overlooks to get a glimpse of the canyon.

Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge says motorists also were turning around on blind corners, tour buses were parking on the roadside and visitors were darting in front of ongoing traffic.

She says the highway closure is to ensure safety and protect resources. She says anyone caught in restricted areas could receive a citation or be arrested.

Associated Press,

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