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Causey Reservoir to get $11M from the feds; upgrades on the way

By Tim Vandenack - | Feb 2, 2022

BENJAMIN ZACK, Standard-Examiner file photo

Stand up paddleboarders head into Skull Crack Canyon on Causey Reservoir during a stand up paddleboard meet-up on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015.

OGDEN — As Causey Reservoir has become an increasingly popular place for paddle boarders and others, Weber County and U.S. Forest Service officials have implemented a number of stopgap measures dating to 2020 to contend with the crowds.

All along, the plan was to secure funding for a series of definitive fixes and now, with $11.45 million earmarked largely by the feds, the improvements are moving along. Weber County commissioners on Tuesday formalized the agreement with the Federal Lands Access Program, part of the Federal Highway Administration, allowing the roadwork portion of improvements around Causey to proceed.

“It is going to happen,” said Sean Wilkinson, director of the Weber County Community Development Department. Design work should start this year, he said, with construction to take place between the spring and fall of 2025, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Weber County’s share of the $11.45 million will only be $175,000, though it’s also to contribute right-of-way for some of the upgrades and help with some utility relocation.

“Eleven-plus million dollars with $175,000 input from the county — I don’t think anybody could say that’s not a fantastic business deal for Weber County and the citizens that use Causey,” said Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer.

Image supplied, Weber County

This map shows the sections of roadway around Causey Reservoir east of Huntsville that are to be improved thanks to a planned $11.45 million project, funded largely with federal money. Weber County officials on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, approved an agreement with federal authorities allowing the project to proceed.

On top of road improvements around Causey, another $1 million-plus bucket of funding will be used to upgrade and expand parking lots around the reservoir and create a ramp into the water for emergency craft, according to Sean Harwood, who heads the U.S. Forest Service’s Ogden Ranger District. Those improvements — funded with federal Great American Outdoors Act money — will be completed in tandem with the $11.45 million in road upgrades.

When the weather is warm, the sides of the narrow roads that wind around Causey Reservoir, located about 11 miles east of Huntsville, fill with parked cars. Paddle boarders, kayakers and others traverse the road to and from water access points, creating, at times, a chaotic, congested ambiance.

Harwood said the improvements are aimed, in part, at keeping the roadsides around Causey, an increasingly popular magnet for weekend visitors, largely free of vehicles. Causey, distinguished by the dark green color of the water, sits within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

“That place is really popular,” Harwood said. “It’s just being loved to death.”

The road improvements entail repaving 1.65 miles of Causey Road and replacing the Beaver Creek bridge along the roadway. Causey Road connects from State Route 39 to the reservoir entry.

A portion of Skull Crack Road, which goes south from Causey Road on the west side of Causey, is also to be repaved with the addition of some parking areas to the roadway’s shoulder. An overflow parking area on Skull Crack Road will be realigned and expanded, according to Weber County paperwork on the plans.

The Causey Road-Skull Crack Road intersection will be reconfigured while a portion of Wheatgrass Road, which heads northeasterly from the intersection toward Camp Kiesel, a Boy Scouts camp, will also get upgrades. Wilkinson said unpaved sections of Wheatgrass Road, at least some of them, will be paved while Harwood said guardrails will be added, among other safety improvements.

“It’ll be another gem for Weber County,” Harwood said. Wheatgrass Road is a very narrow, winding road in parts, only one lane in one stretch.

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