County negotiating with Union Pacific for rights of way on road
|Deteriorating retaining walls are slated to be repaired or replaced when the Utah Department of Transportation begins an improvement project on the Carbonville road. Currently, however, the project is awaiting permission on rights of way from Union Pacific.|
The county has been working on completing the highway improvement project on the Carbonville Road for two years.
Carbon officials have secured most of the funding for the project. And the county has generally been diligent in securing the utility easements and rights of way needed for the improvements.
But Carbon County officials have not been able to reach a right of way agreement with Union Pacific Railroad.
Although the county has secured ROWs on more than 80 percent on the west side of the road, but none on the east side because it is owned by the transportation company.
The road handles more than 5,000 vehicles per day, but has not had a major reconstruction project since the early 1950s.
The existing conditions on the Carbonville Road fall significantly short of the provisions for a busy byway set by national standards.
The project will entail reconstructing nearly a three and one-half mile stretch from where the road intersects with U.S. Highway 6 in Blue Cut to where it enters the Price city limits near Overpass Park.
"It's a busy place," said Carbon County Commissioner Bill Krompel. "There is a lot of development in the area and it also has the potential for much more."
The change will create a road that will consist of a traffic lane in each direction with a continuous center turn lane. The road will have six foot shoulders and the entire length will have curb and gutter to help with drainage problems.
All driveways along the road will have concrete approaches constructed and a five-foot sidewalk will be built along the west side of the street.
Along with residences, there are also 27 businesses along the road, including motels, gas stations, a bowling alley, night clubs, restaurants, vehicle maintenance shops and large as well as small industrial buildings and operations.
Estimates on increased traffic due to growth show a doubling or even tripling of traffic over the next 15 years.
Construction was set to begin this summer. But until the situation with the railroad is resolved little can happen because the money that the county has received from the federal government for the project requires proper ROWs.
"Interestingly enough when the road was originally built it was constructed by the state and was part of US 6," stated Krompel. "However, the state never got the proper ROWs on the road and in actuality the railroad actually still owns the property where the road presently exists."
In March, the commission sent a letter to Mike Seedy from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) asking for his help in securing the easements from Union Pacific because other contacts, both from the county and from the design engineers Creamer and Noble, had not created much movement. Included with the letter was a history of contacts with Union Pacific and the results of those conversations.
"We also contacted some of our congressional delegation to give us some help and in the last couple of weeks, contacts from Union Pacific have increased and I believe we are moving in the right direction now," explained Krompel.
With the expansion of the road, the county will need more land to work with than the original road has. Part of that will come from Union Pacific, which might even be to the railroad's benefit.
"Many of the embankments and retaining walls along the rail line there are deteriorating," Krompel noted. "Part of the plan is to fix and replace those that need it."
Krompel explained that over the last three years the county and engineers have supplied quite of bit of information to Union Pacific, based on the railroads own requests, including appraisals on the land the county needs and a survey of the area.
"After that we didn't hear hardly anything, but that is now changing," Krompel said.
Despite the delay, engineering and design plans are moving ahead. The engineer will be passing along the tentative final plan to UDOT in May and Krompel said he expects that the county will then hold a public hearing for residents and concerned citizens to comment on the plan.
"We plan to rebuild the road in two phases over a two year period. The first phase will take place starting on the south end of the road and the second phase, the next year, will begin in the north and meet up with the south. Hopefully we can get started with phase one this year," concluded Krompel.