|The view from vehicles stopped at one point of the intersection between U.S. Highway 6 and Helper's Main Street has caused several Carbon County residents to become concerned about traffic safety in the area. Vehicles traveling from the south approach the intersection from a curve and encounter a restraining wall constructed as part of the Helper overpass project. The conditions restrict the view of drivers traveling in the area.|
An intersection set up at the Helper overpass project on U.S. Highway 6 has upset local motorists.
But according to Utah Department of Transportation officials, the fix is temporary.
"We are aware of the problem and are looking at some alternatives," said Myron Lee, spokesman for UDOT Region 4. "However, we are asking in the meantime that motorists use extreme caution when crossing through the construction area."
The site at issue is a stop sign placed where a retaining wall for the overpass has been built. Motorists crossing from north to south Helper must stop for southbound traffic on U.S. 6.
The wall and grade restrict the stopped drivers view of on coming traffic. Some residents indicate that they have almost been hit by oncoming vehicles there as they cross the road to get to downtown Helper.
"My wife said she was almost hit there so I went down and looked at it," noted Walt Borla of Helper. "I think it is a very dangerous situation and something needs to be done."
The overpass project is projected to be completed in July 2008.
But Lee said the situation at the corner will be resolved prior the project's completion.
"That situation will only last about three months," he said. "We expect to have Highway 6 traffic running over the top of the overpass by late September, barring no delays or problems."
At that time, U.S. 6 traffic will have off ramps to exit onto Helper Main Street, with stop signs at the bottom. Main Street traffic will have unimpeded travel from the north half of town to the south half.
For the next three months, driving caution is urged.
"We are aware of the problem and we have come up with some solutions. But none of them are perfect because of the way we had to construct the overpass walls," explained Lee. "Someone in our office has suggested that maybe a convex mirror could be used to get a better view. That is under consideration. However, if there are some real problems there, and we are watching it daily, we may have to close that intersection entirely and have people use alternative routes."
Lee indicated that UDOT is asking motorists to exercise extreme caution at the intersection. If residents don't feel comfortable with the intersection, they may drive to Poplar Street and turn into downtown that way.
"If we have to close it, that would be one of the alternatives," said Lee. "But for the next few months, the speed limit on Highway 6 will remain 35 miles per hour through the construction area and we have put up signs warning motorists coming from the south that there is cross traffic in that area We have also worked with the Helper police to patrol that area and issue tickets to those who exceed the speed limit."