Letter to the Editor: Answers on Us 6
Recently the Utah Department of Transportation received a letter of concern regarding U.S. Highway 6. The author chose to write anonymously and signed his letter, "A Frequent Highway Traveler," with the request that we respond to it in the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress.
In addition to the items mentioned in the letter of concern, UDOT has several projects in the works and planned for U.S. 6 that the readers of these papers should know about.
The letter writer was primarily concerned with the recent painting of double yellow lines on some three-lane sections of U.S. 6. These sections typically have two uphill lanes and one downhill lane. The recently painted double yellow lines now prohibit passing in the single downhill lane. The writer is upset that legal passes can no longer be made where passing used to be permitted and feels traffic flow is impeded.
Simply put, the decision to limit passing is intended to help people drive safer. Last year, a safety study on U.S. 6 cited several accidents due to improper passing. We found that conflicts arise when motorists traveling in opposing directions use the same middle lane to pass slower vehicles in spite of oncoming traffic.
The double yellow line now prohibits passing in the single downhill lane, but it also reduces the potential for head-on collisions.
In addition to the new painting scheme, UDOT is in the process of creating a painted rumble strip down the Highway's centerline as a preventive safety measure to alert motorists when they cross into oncoming traffic lanes. It's a treatment that hasn't been used much in Utah, but has a proven track record in other states. The rumble strip will be 12 inches wide with center lines painted inside. Most of this rumble strip will go in areas where passing is prohibited.
UDOT has also slated several projects for construction this year and next. The Helper interchange project and the Price to Wellington widening project are designed and being advertised with construction planned to start this fall. Passing lanes are also anticipated next between mileposts 195-197, 226-228 and 259-262.
In addition there will two bridge projects in the area. One will be to put in a new bridge near Sunnyside Junction and the second will be to renovate the bridge over the railroad near the Peerless Port of Entry.
In addition our maintenance crews are and will be installing "Next Passing Lane XX Miles" signs and we are also experimenting with wet-reflective tape in lieu of paint.
Finally, we are also conducitng an Environmental Impact Statement on the whole of U.S. 6 is in process.
We mention these pending projects only to alert citizens that our attention is focused on U.S. 6. Road construction comes with its inherent delays, but UDOT is committed to meet the current and future needs of motorists on Utah's primary route between Green River and Spanish Fork.