Letter to the Editor: Unneeded structure
Over the last several years there have been literally hundreds of letters, detailed descriptions, hearings, meetings with public authorities and representatives of the state highway department all relating to the proposed Helper interchange.
So why do we need another letter either for or against this project? Actually we need hundreds of letters against this ill conceived designed, under financed highway abortion.
Left alone, many irresponsible and unneeded projects go to completion mostly due to public/community apathy. "My letter won't do any good, they won't listen to the little guy. " This is true only because so few people actually write, call or go to public meetings. We will all be affected if this project goes through, and not just the businesses and residences, which will be closed and/or relocated.
First of all there is no need for this expensive ecologically damaging project, which will have no impact on highway safety except maybe diminish it.
One thing we can be sure of is increased speeding on the proposed overpass. Any straightening of a highway curve accelerates traffic. There are so many desperately needed highway improvements along U.S. 6, as compared with this no-need project.
A far greater need is a complete reworking of the Spring Glen access to U.S. 6 (Southbound), and the designed for disaster Carbonville turnoff, both of which have a history of accidents, some fatal.
Just up the road the two railroad crossings on Carbonville road have had numerous fatalities, the first crossing out of Price having no semaphores, blocking arms and neither has lighting. While Carbonville road is a county highway it was formerly U.S. 6 with all the attendant hazards.
U.S. 6 is a long and notorious highway starting in Cape Cod, Mass. and ending in Long Beach, Calif. In spite of the interfacing with interstates, it is still a main highway in the U.S. If U.S. 66 is the mother road of America, U.S. 6 must be the mother-in-law road.
The need for this road is great as evidenced by the volume of traffic. It is an arterial road connecting I-70 with I- 15, a hypotenuse, southeast-northwest road very popular with trucking companies seeking a more direct route from the southeast and south. No one can dispute this roads commercial and strategic value in the western highway system and there is total agreement that it needs drastic improvements. Let's look at the Helper by-pass problem and it's possible solution(s).
First, a sophisticated traffic control system is needed from Martin (above Helper). to the merger with the four lane system south of Helper. Traffic density sensor systems are very effective in timing traffic control lights. Such lights - a half dozen or so control this road in the Spanish Fork area. This same system can also work in Helper where the traffic does not go through a dense residential area. Signs showing the remaining time on a green light work very effectively. Even the most effective of such systems would cost a small fraction of an elevated highway. Complaints are still being heard about how Helper was separated by the existing road built more than 30 years ago. Can you imagine with the proposed overpass would do?
The cost of the proposed interchange is mounting daily and will continue to do so. It is reasonable to assume the cost will be double that which the latest cost estimate reveals.
Then we need to take into account the human consideration. This aspect of "progress" unfortunately does not enter the equation. Family homes of several generations will be bulldozed down and the families, some quite elderly, will have to find a place to live. Entire streets will be obliterated, together with a number of established businesses. Can you imagine the noise, dust and chaos such a project would create. As in most such projects, more time will be needed, certainly more money will be needed.