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Letter to the Editor: Safety is in the road too



A recent article in the Deseret News had the inscription "Toll rising on deadly rural road in Utah." The article states, "Much has been said about safety improvements along U.S. 6. but this has been the worst year for fatal crashes on the 128-mile highway since 1998."

We as a group of concerned citizens started a protest in 1998 which lead to collecting of 11,000 signatures and many staged protests to help get the much needed attention to the road. At that time we begged the governor and UDOT to make the highway into 4-lanes. We have been told that it is not possible to make this highway 4-lane the entire way because of the nature of the beast so to speak. As we travel other states and see other highways with similar characteristics. Engineers have seemed to design a safer highway for its citizens and visitors to travel.

Accident fatalities on U.S. 6 between Green River and Spanish Fork have reached the highest number since 1998. As citizens of the labeled "rural" Utah we should again be outraged. Despite UDOT's claims of millions of dollars of improvements to the road this year has brought back death and destruction on a large scale.

We agree with state officials and private citizens who talk about seat belt use, lower speeds, more attentive driving and so forth as a means of lowering the death and accident rate. However, we believe that UDOT's entire approach to U.S. 6 highway improvement is "dead on arrival."

Better signs, information and "here and there" fixes are woefully inadequate. The road is not designed to handle the tremendous volume and mix of traffic that is found daily on this "rural" road. UDOT must live in a fantasy world if they believe they can continue to send out soft-spoken, good-looking PR people that sugar coat their failure to adequately fix the highway and that the public would accept this foolishness forever.

We need a 4-lane and divided highway from Spanish Fork to Green River and nothing else is satisfactory. UDOT is negligent in protecting the public and U.S. 6 remains one of America's most dangerous highways.

We all need to drive this road defensively, wear our seatbelts and absolutely remain within speed limits. Even if we do this, we will still be at a great risk to be injured or killed. All of us make errors in driving. We at any time could make a fatal mistake on this road and because of the roads design and traffic volume our life can be lost. In many places on U.S. 6 there is no room for error because of the congestion, narrowness, two way traffic and high volume.

We need to band together again to force this issue so that the governor, UDOT and those that have this power over our lives and the safety of those we love, will take a look into their deep pockets and pull the funds out. Whether it is federal or state, to improve this "deadly rural, highly used" highway.

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