County prepares to start preliminary Carbonville Road work
Last year, the county commission conducted a meeting to discuss the rehabilitation of Carbonville Road. A number of issues were addressed and property owners along the road had a chance to sign rights of ways.
According to Commissioner Bill Krompel, approximately 70 percent of the landowners have signed the rights of way and the county is preparing to start preliminary work on the road improvements.
The main goal of the project is to upgrade the road to modern day specifications, pointed out county officials.
The road currently meets the standards of a 1950s highway. The situation is due to the fact that the road once served as a portion of U.S. Highway 6 before the construction of the bypass was completed. That is also when the last major reconstruction was accomplished.
According to local officials, the Carbonville Road is the busiest street in the county. In fact, the roadway has more traffic now than it had during the 1940s and 1950s when the street was part of the U.S. Highway 6 transportation system.
During the 1940s and 1950s, 3,000 to 4,000 cars traveled the roadway daily.
Today, Carbon County officials estimate that there are 5,000 motor vehicles using the road daily and the number is expected to double or triple by 2020.
The Carbonville Road does not host as many businesses as the area once did. Nevertheless, there are currently 27 businesses operating between Price city's Main Street and U.S. Highway 6 in the Blue Cut.
Located along the road, there are motels, gas stations, a bowling alley, night clubs, restaurants and industrial buildings as well as a several vehicle maintenance shops.
Last year, Price city worked with Carbon County to install a new water delivery line along the roadway. The project took longer than expected, due primarily to unexpected problems with underground utilities. But the construction was completed and Carbonville Road was patched.
When the possibility of reconstructing the highway came up, the county asked Price city to halt plans to proceed with an roadway overlay project.
County officials felt that the money associated with completing the overlay work would be wasted since Carbonville Road would be torn up within a year.
But the traffic conditions on the road continued to deteriorate.
Finally, the county and the city found a way to cut the cost of the overlay in half.
Instead of spending more than $120,000 to pave and patch one-half of the road, officials found a contractor that could do the project for just over $60,000.
To the county authorities it is obvious this road needs to be redone. According to statistics, the accident rate on this stretch of road has zoomed in recent years.
In 1998 there were only three accidents reported on the road, but in 2001 there were 17. Some have discounted this rise to the construction on the waterline that was going on late in the summer of 2001, but according to authorities, even in 2000 there were 14 mishaps.
Two of the biggest problems along Carbonville Road are the lack of turn lanes and the fact that so many obstacles are so close to a road where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour.
The new project will create a "third lane" in the middle of the road that will allow motorists to turn either direction, much like what is on East Main Street in Price.
In addition there will be turnoffs for right turns from the road, where currently a vehicle must stay in it's traveling lane until it completes it's turn.
In some areas the engineering on this type of construction plan would be challenging, especially along the railroad tracks.
The obstacles along the road are also of major concern. Modern highways have "clear zones" surrounding them. These are areas where there are no stationary objects that are not designed to break away if they are hit.
For instance, many of the guard rails that are used today are energy absorbing rather than the solid formations which were installed years ago.
Modern signs are not cemented directly into holes in the ground filled with concrete, but have a break away point with thin bolts so that they will not cause as much damage to a vehicle upon impact.
What most engineers strive for in designing or redesigning highways is to make it so a driver can have the room to get back control of their vehicle without hitting any solid objects. Almost 50 percent of accidents are one car mishaps and a good percentage of those involve running into or taking out objects along roads.
Obviously, that design change would be almost impossible on Carbonville Road due to the close proximity of homes and businesses. But officials feel that a small clear zone could be established by moving utility poles and eliminating trees and other hard objects.
The proposed design of the county road places a five foot sidewalk on the west with a two and a half foot curb and gutter.
Plans include shoulders of six feet on each side, the two travel lanes would be 11 feet each with the center lane being 12 feet in width. There would be another two and a half feet of curb and gutter and a three foot shoulder on the rail line side of the road.
The county asked the Utah Department of Transportation to review the situation with the road and they have suggested some changes that could be made that would bring the road closer to current standards. These suggestions include the following:
Construct handicap ramps at the intersection of Main Street.
Upgrade location and supports of mail boxes placed along the road.
Replace all the damaged and old signs.
Construct right turn lanes at all the intersecting streets.
Widen the bridges over the canal crossings and put in new guard rails and end treatments.
Remove and reconstruct old head walls and widen canal structures outside of clear zone.
Upgrade railroad signing.
Install an overhead stop sign where the road joins with Highway 6 in Blue Cut.
Improve the horizontal alignment of the road.
Have all utilities moved out of the highway's clear zone.
Upgrade all street name signs.
The transportation department also suggested several changes in areas with individual problems along the road.
The cost for this project has an estimated cost of $3,750,000. Much of the money would come from grants including $3,100,000 from a U.S. highway grant and $100,000 from a UDOT grant. The county's total cost is estimated at $550,000.
At present, the county has the money to conduct the engineering and to move the utilities once all the right-of-ways are acquired.
Meetings are presently being conducted with those that have not signed right-of-way transfers to the county, but the local officials have also begun the legal wheels turning for condemnation procedures if they are needed to get the project completed.