EDEN — Steep, winding, dangerous Powder Mountain Highway will be improved somewhat this summer as part of an $8 million Utah Department of Transportation project.

Work on that stretch of State Road 158 from Eden to Powder Mountain Resort “is not a reconstruction,” said UDOT spokesman Vic Saunders, “but a significant rehabilitation of the pavement.”

Shoulders and drainage will be upgraded, he said, plus there will be “cross slope and roadway geometry improvements.”

Fatal crashes on the road and increased development at the resort have fueled demands for a better road for a decade or more.

At least three fatal crashes have been attributed to vehicles losing their brakes while negotiating the steep downhill grade, which is an average 14% along the 5-mile stretch between Powder Mountain and Eden.

Powder Mountain Road 02

Vehicles drive on Highway 158, Powder Mountain Road, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. UDOT plans to improve the road from Eden up to the ski area. The road its one of the steepest and deadliest highways in Utah.

Saunders said it’s one of the steepest state highways in Utah.

According to past Standard-Examiner coverage, a 16-year-old boy was killed when a motor home crashed while returning from a motocross event at the resort in 2009; a street sweeper driver died in a crash on Aug. 16, 2018; and a man was thrown from a crashing cargo truck on Jan. 9, 2019.

Authorities attributed all three crashes to brake failures.

Work on the Powder Mountain Road is part of an $8 million project to improve SR 158 from Pineview Dam to Powder Mountain.

It includes shoulder work from SR 158’s junction with State Road 39 at the Pineview spillway to 3100 North, about a half mile north of the Eden crossroads.

The $1.2 million in shoulder work will include a realignment of a tenth of a mile of SR 158 near the Pineview spillway. It’s being moved closer to the reservoir to reduce the risk of rocks from the north side of the canyon crashing onto vehicles.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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