2. UDOT News

UDOT initiates study to improve safety on US-191 north of Vernal

Study and design work are underway to remove switchbacks near Simplot Mine

UDOT has started preliminary design and environmental clearance work to enhance safety for truckers and motorists along a nearly three-mile section of U.S. Highway 191 near the Simplot Phosphates Mine (mileposts 365 and 368) 12 miles north of Vernal.

“Within this stretch of road there is a series of switchbacks that are challenging to motorists and truckers alike. We’ve seen several rollover crashes involving trucks that have resulted in tragic consequences—and we want to improve the situation,” said Larry Montoya, UDOT Project Manager. “The proposed project would eliminate the switchbacks and replace them with longer, wider curves that are easier to navigate and enhance safety for all motorists.”

The project will also include the addition of an emergency runaway truck ramp, improved climbing and passing lanes, reducing steep grades at key locations, and improving access to the scenic overlook. UDOT anticipates these improvements will result in more efficient and safer travel through the area, improving the driving experience for all users.

The project, which began in 2021, is currently in the environmental study and design phase. The project team is preparing a Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE), which is less extensive than an Environmental Impact Study. DCEs are designated for projects determined not to have a significant effect on the environment. The DCE for this project is expected to be complete in early 2023 with construction anticipated as early as 2024.

For additional information, please contact the US-191 Realignment Project by visiting the project website at: udotinput.utah.gov/us191realigned, or contacting the project hotline at: (435) 220-2008 or via email at: us191realigned@utah.gov.

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