Since our company purchased the Uintah Basin Standard and Vernal Express last year I have had a number of occasions to drive to Duchesne and then on to Roosevelt and Vernal on U.S. Highway 40.
Now I am not a stranger to that road since my wife's parents lived in Ballard for some time in the 1980's and we traveled from Salt Lake to their house a number of times on that highway. I always considered the two worst parts of driving that road the sections between Duchesne and Roosevelt and from Ballard to Vernal. The trip to Heber from Salt Lake is now so easy with the freeway that was constructed years ago and despite the fact that Daniels Canyon is steep there are a lot of passing lanes going up.
Through the Strawberry area it used to be super dangerous, but in many places it is now four lanes; still it is no cake walk. Some tragic accidents have taken place there and in the Fruitland area in the last couple of years.
But judging how crazy drivers are there is no better section on that highway than that piece from Duchesne to Roosevelt. A few weeks ago I was coming back from Roosevelt and was doing a little over the speed limit. People passed me as if I was standing still, and more than that, three drivers did it in that 20 mile stretch with other cars directly in their lane. I moved over all three times so there wouldn't be a collision.
Does this sound familiar to any of you? I was having deja vu about the close calls I have had on Highway 6 over the years as I began to breath again heading up Indian Canyon (no easy road either) to go home.
Highway 40 is a busy road. I'm not sure it is as busy as Highway 6, but it's still pretty busy.
As I have said in many editorials before, UDOT can do as much as they want to improve roads, and it will help, and help a lot. But crazy drivers are something that we all need to live with, regardless of the highways we drive.
We can blame officials all we want for our dilemmas, but until we all start driving safely and courteously, there will always be problem highways, even with safer designs.