|Work for turning lanes for the San Rafael Swell is a Utah Department of Transportation project expected to be complete this season.|
The Utah Department of Transportation Commission met in Price on March 16 for their monthly meeting. This commission travels the state convening in different cities to get a feel for the local people and their needs and concerns about transportation in their region.
Emery County is part of Region 4 on the state map for transportation. This region also includes Grand, San Juan and Carbon counties.
The day prior to the meeting the commission toured Region 4 to see where projects are currently underway and to look at proposed projects. Bevan Wilson from Huntington is one of the commissioners along with others representing the other regions of the state.
Commissioner Wilson welcomed everyone to his region of representation. He said he looks forward to this special time of year when construction begins on projects and also to see how transportation fared in the legislature. Commissioner Wilson introduced local officials and UDOT officials from around the state were welcomed.
The region four update was given which listed projects in progress and also those being proposed. The Helper Interchange project is under construction now and is a $22 million project. It is a new interchange and the construction is scheduled to be complete by spring 2008. On the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program list for 2008 is US 6 Scofield Junction to Pine Tree Park. This is a $32 million project which will widen to four lanes. The project will be advertised in Sept. 2007. This is a project from milepost 215 to 218.73. This will provide approximately four miles of four-lane roadway by tying this project into the existing four-lane section at the White River.
A project on US-6 from Wellington to Grassy Trail Creek is a $7 million (choke point project). It will add passing lanes and will be advertised this spring. A project from MP 283-288 valued at $8 million will construct passing lanes with construction beginning this season; LeGrand Johnson is the contractor.
On SR-10 turn lanes are being added near Castle Dale for access onto the San Rafael Swell.
UDOT reported the Hunter Power Plant interchange was completed and is a much needed improvement for access to the power plant.
On SR-10 from Ridge Road to south of Price which is a $5 million project and includes widening improvements the scoping will begin this spring.
On SR-10 from Muddy Creek to Ferron a $12.5 million pavement rehabilitation. The project will advertise in April 2007, construction will be from June to November 2007.
On SR-10 from Emery to Muddy Creek $550,000 for PE design completion: Spring 2008
Hunter to Clawson (MP 30.8-34) $2.1 Million (joint highway committee) pavement rehabilitation STIP year 2010.
Construction of the Quitchupah road from SUFCO mine to SR-10 will tie in between the Consol Mine road and Fremont Junction.
Local officials addressed the transportation commission. Bruce Adams, a San Juan County Commissioner, said originally the meeting was scheduled for Monument Valley and he invited the commission to come back there for a future meeting. Adams went over the projects for his area. Adams thanked the commission for their work on Highway 6. He said that highway is used by the people in Region 4 for all travel to the Wasatch Front. He encouraged continued improvements on the highway to make it safer.
Rep. Brad King addressed the commission, he complemented them on their willingness to get out and about to other parts of the state. He requested that Region 3 take the snow removal on US-6 as seriously as they do on I-15. He appreciated the emphasis UDOT has placed on US-6 and great progress has taken place over the last 10 years. He said 31 miles of the 64 miles over that canyon are now three or four lanes, but we will not be fully satisfied until the entire road is four lanes.
"All roads are important to those who travel those roads, there are challenges. Transportation had a good year at the legislature. Everyone agrees that US-6 should be funded and they would like to get this project done as soon as their project is done," said Rep. King. So he suggested they fund the number two project-US-6. He said the congestion problems and delays from Provo may make drivers annoyed, but being dead by traveling US-6 is quite different than being annoyed on I-15.
Emery County Commissioner Gary Kofford spoke to the commission, he commented it was a good day for them to come down and as they go back over US-6 they will meet 5,000 marathon runners heading to Moab for the weekend. "We appreciate what you've done, but it's not complete yet. Keep spending. Fridays and weekends from now on with the Wasatch Front recreationists, the traffic from Green River to Price is just steady," stated Commissioner Kofford. Kofford also expressed his appreciation for the Hunter Interchange. The turning lanes onto the San Rafael Swell will be a big improvement as many coal trucks have had to lock up their brakes at that location to avoid accidents.
He commented the deep ruts between Ferron and Emery are a problem and need to be addressed in a timely manner. The bids for the South Moore road phases three and four are ready to bid and this road is being built with federal money.
Carbon County Commissioner Bill Krompel had questions concerning the $5 million project for improvements from Ridge Road to south of Price. UDOT stated that project money will start at Ridge Road and work it's way north. Krompel was interested in how to access corridor preservation funds. That portion of SR-10 has houses on both sides of the road. UDOT said the scoping on this project will begin this spring. Possibly the project would include lanes to access the industrial area.
Carlos Braceras explained a little about the two sources of funding for corridor preservation. In some cases UDOT tries to purchase raw property so they don't have to take developed property. If a project is pending in an area, it sometimes creates a hardship for home and business owners as the property becomes hard to sell. Krompel was instructed to work with the advisory committee for UDOT to see the best approach to the problems along this corridor. It is estimated a buyout along SR-10 would require several million dollars.
Braceras said UDOT sends a score card each month to the governors office which reports about safety on Utah roads. Fatalities have been going down, but pedestrian accidents have been on the rise. For February there were 10 fatalities, in Feb. 2006 there were 15 and the last four year average was 15. In 2006 there were 28 pedestrian fatalities statewide. Some of these fatalities have been from people exiting their vehicles while on the freeway. In February there were 188 UDOT projects under construction. In February $27 million was paid to contractors. UDOT has a goal of trying to complete projects in one summer to avoid inconvenience to travelers.