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Front Page » November 28, 2006 » Opinion » Spanish Fork 4, Carbon County 0
Published 2,705 days ago

Spanish Fork 4, Carbon County 0


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Recently another traffic light has gone up on the other side of the mountain in Spanish Fork on Highway 6 at 2550 East. Now, when one pulls out of the canyon and heads toward I-15 there are four lights before you get to the freeway. That's okay, they are needed. In fact at the latest light placement, I have seen so many close calls, and been involved in a few of them, I have to wonder how many serious accidents have taken place there.

And that is the point. While the population in Carbon county is not as large as it is along the highway on the other side of the mountain, we have a couple of real problem intersections once you leave Price Canyon too. The first, of course, is now being handled; where Helper's Main Street crosses Highway 6. Whether you agree with the construction of the interchange or not it will solve the dangerous problem that has existed there ever since the bypass was built in the early 1970's.

The second crossing problem lies a few miles down the road from Helper. It is where Spring Glen Road enters the bypass. This has been the scene of a number of serious and fatal accidents and in some ways is much more dangerous than where the highway cuts through Helper. By the time traffic reaches here, coming from either way, most vehicles are doing at least 65 mph, many at higher speeds. Pulling out to go towards Price from Spring Glen Road is like a crap shoot. You often can't tell who is in the inside lane coming from the north while you are trying to keep the other eye on the traffic from the south, some of which is turning and some of which is headed straight through the intersection.

I saw plans some time ago that had the state building another interchange nearby to solve this problem.

When the bypass road was built, Consumers Road was cut in half by it and left that way. The plans I saw were to build an overpass between the two halves of the road that were divided over 30 years ago and put on and off ramps there. That way people could get into and out of Spring Glen/Kenilworth without having to cross the traffic lanes. In addition it would add to the safety with the large trucks that haul coal to the terminal at Wildcat Loadout. Meanwhile the state would cut off Spring Glen Road entering Highway 6 at Blue Cut and run the road instead to connect with Carbonville Road, much like it used to be when the two roads were the old Highway 6/50. Carbonville Road would also be cut off from the entrance to the freeway at Blue Cut as well.

Good idea, in fact an excellent idea, unless you have established a nice quiet home on the part of Consumers that was cut off. But it is also an expensive idea; with the Helper project having been held up for almost a couple of years by price increases and bids that didn't meet expectations, you can bet building an overpass at Consumers Road in a future of increased construction costs would come to at least half or more of the 20 million it is costing to put the interchange in Helper.

Yet on the other side of the mountain the state continues to put up semifores, on a road that is very similar to the Carbon bypass for around a quarter of a million dollars each.

The intersection at Blue Cut needs more traffic control. The way that could be done quickly and easily is to put a light there. It would also help with traffic entering from the Carbon Country Club and golf course as well. The Carbonville Road entrance, which is not quite as dangerous, but has accounted for loss of life would also be affected because the light would slow down the traffic and put breaks in it on busy holiday weekends.

Sure it would slow down traffic flow, making some who are buzzing by our county to get to Lake Powell or Moab a little more frustrated, but maybe that is what we need in that area. Even if there are future plans for an overpass/interchange system there, a light would still serve the area well until those plans jell and are completed. I hate to be a pessimist, but we all know about "plans" and the way they get delayed and put off for years, usually due to funding.

In my estimation, that is the best way to take care of a problem that will only get worse as traffic increases, which all the studies say it will over the next few years. A light there may not be the best way to solve the problem, but it may save a few lives and a lot of injuries before we discover the final solution.


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