Transportation Department Plans to Release Final EIS for U.S. Highway 6
The Utah Department of Transportation plans to release the final environmental impact statement for U.S. Highway 6 on Oct. 7.
The final EIS proposes widening U.S. 6 to a mostly four-lane highway from the junction with Interstate 15 in Spanish Fork to the Interstate 70 junction near Green River.
In a draft EIS release in September of last year, UDOT had proposed a full four-lane corridor for the 127 miles covered by the stretch of highway.
That proposal met some opposition as it crossed certain wetlands.
The four-lane alternative would impact five more acres of wetlands than a passing lane alternative.
As a result, the United States Army Corps of Engineers worked with UDOT to develop a plan that would narrow the four-lane highway in areas where the road crosses wetlands.
In the proposal, as U.S. Highway 6 crosses four specific areas in Price and Spanish Fork canyons,the road will narrow to three lanes.
The proposed setup will be similar to the three-lane highways currently in place in some areas of the canyon, according to the state transportation department.
One direction of travel will be have two lanes - one for normal travel and the other for passing only.
The other direction of travel will be limited to a single lane, but dashed yellow lines will indicate where passing is safely possible using the opposing lane of traffic.
Four sections of the highway are suggested in the EIS for the passing lane alternative.
The EIS identifies the following areas along U.S. 6 as proposed passing lane sections: from milepost 181.1 to 183, west of the Diamond Fork Canyon turnoff; milepost 201.5 to 204, just west of the Soldier Summit; and milepost 207.8 to 210, and 211.3 to 215.5 between the summit and Scofield junction.
If the preferred alternative is approved and selected, the improvements will occur over the next 20 years as funding becomes available.
The improvements include adding lanes, building medians and measures to mitigate damage to wildlife.
The release of the final EIS is the result of more than four years of studying the highway.
The public scoping began in October 2002. The initial scope led to the alternatives and issues presented in the draft EIS in September 2004. A supplemental draft EIS was release in March 2005. Both draft EISs had 45-day comment periods.
In addition the the EIS, UDOT has implemented a variety of safety measures as a result of a safety study in 2002. Those improvements include center rumple strips, re-striping lanes and adding more passing lanes.
With the release of the final EIS, UDOT will accept comments for 30 days during its public review period. Copies of the final EIS are scheduled to be available at the College of Eastern Utah Library in Price, the Grand County Public Library in Moab, the Green River City Library, the Helper City Library and the Price City Public Library. In addition, the public can view the final EIS at UDOT's website. The web page address is http://www.udot.utah.gov/us6.
Members of the public who wish to comment on the EIS may do so in writing or by email. Letters should be addressed to U.S. 6 Project Team, c/o HDR Engineering, 3995 S. 700 East, Suite 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84107. Emails should be directed to Heidi.Spoor@hdrinc.com. Comments must be received by Nov. 7 to be considered for the record decision.
After the comment period, the Federal Highway Administration will make a record decision as to which alternative to approve. This decision will take into consideration the final EIS as well as the public comments.