WILLARD — After completing a $7.5 million construction project on U.S. 89 this fall, the transportation department will be back on the road in the spring to correct some flawed striping.
Earlier this month, the Utah Department of Transportation completed construction on the highway from about 9100 South in Willard to 3000 South in Perry. The state did an asphalt overlay to extend the life of the existing pavement on the road. Crews also installed a new traffic signal at 750 North in Willard.
Kaysville resident Scott Collins, who describes himself as an avid cyclist, frequently gets on his bike and journeys from Davis County into Weber and Box Elder counties via U.S. 89.
Collins said the highway (although typically very busy) offered wide paved shoulders, making him feel comfortable and safe during his jaunts to the north. But after making his usual trip a few days after the state finished the construction project, he realized his comfortable riding space had been diminished.
“(The) project has all but eliminated the wide paved shoulder areas on the east side of the project and in various spots along the west side,” he said in an email to the Standard-Examiner. “The bikers I saw riding north ... were riding in the actual traffic lane since the shoulder is now so narrow.”
UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the roadway was striped improperly after construction was completed.
“Historically, we’ve always had about two feet (of shoulder), with the exception of where individual cities or development made certain sections wider,” Saunders said. “Now, with the new striping, it’s down to about a foot-and-a-half or less.”
Saunders said the contractor for the project (which on UDOT’s website is listed as Granite Construction) will restripe the road, bringing back the wide shoulders, in the spring of 2019.
“Some aspects weren’t done correctly, but we will be fixing it,” he said.
Saunders said the transportation department has reached out to Collins, who had contacted Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office after noticing the altered highway.
Collins said a similar problem exists on State Road 167, the Trappers Loop Highway in Morgan County.
In October, UDOT completed five-month, $11.5 million reconstruction of Trappers Loop, repaving the highway between Mountain Green and Huntsville. UDOT replaced all of the existing asphalt on the road and installed new guardrail designed to improve safety for motorcyclists. A center-running rumble strip was also installed.
A full reconstruction of the road, which included a new drainage system, was completed at the highway’s summit, near the Snowbasin Resort turnoff.
The mountain pass is heavily used in the winter by skiers and snowboarders to access resorts like Snowbasin and Powder Mountain in the Upper Ogden Valley. Traffic is steady during warmer months as outdoor enthusiasts visit the resorts and places like Pineview and Causey reservoirs.
The highway is also a popular location for area cyclists.
Saunders said the shoulders on Trappers Loop are the same as they were before construction and improvements on the road have actually made it safer for cyclists.