|Trucks and cars stop at a recent accident just south of Castle Dale.|
Where does Emery County go for help with the deteriorating SR-10, the life blood of the county. In talking with Huntington resident, Bevan Wilson, who is on the Utah Department of Transportation Commission, Emery County has not been forgotten. The Poison Springs Bench project to Huntington added four lanes and passing opportunities for travel between Huntington and Price. Also, the project near Hiawatha Junction added one lane for southbound traffic. The bridge at Wilberg Wash was replaced and the road widened in that area.
"The one big problem we have with SR-10 is that it is not a federally designated highway. So therefore it doesn't qualify for any federal funding. For UDOT there are approximately 20 different categories for funding. A lot of those categories are for specifically classified roads. SR-10 is not a federal road, it is a state road and only available for certain types of funding. We are restricted on the availability of funding for SR-10.
"Out of a $5 million allocation for SR-10 for projects from I-70 to Price there is a small amount of that pool of money left over from the Poison Springs Project. Part of the Hiawatha Project was also funded from this pool. This past year we were able to get funding for resurfacing from Emery to I-70 which has been a big improvement. Projects which are on the STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Program) list are eligible for funding from quite a few sources.
"The road from Ferron to Emery is in terrible condition. The road from Rock Canyon to Castle Dale is in terrible condition. The road from the Hiawatha Junction to Horseshoe Dugway is breaking up. Ridge Road to State Farm Road is cracking. I have brought state officials to the county and they have traveled SR-10. They are mindful of the condition it is in. When Trail Mountain Mine closed the number of coal trucks on SR-10 increased dramatically.
"UDOT was not given any prior notice to the closing of Trail Mountain so it could plan accordingly for transportation needs for SR-10. If we could have had some notice we would have been better prepared to handle traffic, but we were hit cold. I would like to see the energy industry communicate better with UDOT on changes. Things are improving with the Hunter Plant interchange project and we are in close communication with PacifiCorp on the specifics of this project.
"In the STIP process a road project is identified and it takes five years to move through the process to a funding year. We are trying very hard with SR-10, a corridor study has been completed. It is very difficult to find funding to deal with the impacts of the increased traffic.
"The Muddy Creek bridge replacement project is at the bid opening stage. We had to get added money for this project. All of UDOTs projects have been way over engineer's projections due to higher transportation costs and other increases in construction materials. Construction should start next month on the bridge.
|Bevan Wilson is a commissioner on the Utah Department of Transportation Commission.|
"We tried to convince the legislature to leave some highway funding available for discretionary projects as the need arises. We are hoping to get some money for SR-10 and we will be briefed in our April meeting as to the outcome of this request.
"A lot of the transportation funding had to go back into the program for indebtness, it is not just new money for new projects. Some of the money appropriated by the legislature is paying for projects which have already been completed; these projects must be paid for.
"It's difficult for people to understand the impacts of the power generation industry in our county. The coal travels both ways, both into and out of our county. The Hunter Plant has a blending facility and coal is trucked in and blended with other coal to make an acceptable blend to be burned in the plant.
"These added impacts plus a wet winter and moisture leads to the breakup of our roads," said Wilson.
Monies collected from the fuel tax goes back into state roads, county roads and city roads. These taxes do come back to help with maintenance on roads.
"We presented our spiel to Gov. Leavitt for $100 million to upgrade and bring SR-10 to a coal haul standard. There are people working and pursuing the reclassification of SR-10 to a federal classification so more funding possibilities are opened up. Mike Miles from UDOT is in the process of reviewing the regulations and requirements for the different road classifications. Miles is the manager for most of the projects on SR-10 and SR-6.
"Just having an impact such as the coal truck traffic doesn't always make for a special classification as far as a federal highway is concerned. There is a transportation bill before the United States Senate right now that Rep. Jim Matheson has worked on. This funding is for $4.5 million for the South Moore cutoff road. He is also trying to get US-6 designated as a high priority corridor which will qualify it for special funding dollars. This funding source is new money. Last year, $3 million was appropriated for bridge replacement at the East Carbon junction with SR-6. We hope that funding stays intact for this year. When the legislation left the House of Representatives the funding was still intact for the South Moore road and the SR-6 designation. We'll have to wait and see what comes out of the Senate. We've contacted Senator's Hatch and Bennett and done some lobbying. It appears they don't do a lot of whittling on bills in the Senate. So we're hoping for the best," said Wilson.
Projects on the statewide STIP list receiving funding in 2005 include $2,157,000 for Phase 2 of the South Moore Cutoff road. In centennial project funds for 2005, $941,000 is available for widening and the addition of passing lanes from I-70 to Price along SR-10. For 2006, the amount of $750,000 has been allocated for the replacement of the Union Pacific Bridge at the West Interchange in Green River. For 2006, $5,900,000 has been outlined for the construction of four lanes of traffic from the Tucker rest stop to Soldier Summit. In 2006, funds from the State Parks Roads will improve the Goblin Valley access road. Projects in concept development include: SR-10 asphalt rehabilitation from Fremont Junction to Emery, bridge replacement SR-29 over Lowry Creek, bridge replacement SR-31- over Huntington Creek.