After nearly three years of construction, the Utah Department of Transportation opened the newest section of U.S. Highway 189 in Provo Canyon. UDOT held a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the highway Oct. 23 at the Provo River Parkway Trail access.
“This is a major step building the highway to this point. Our construction contractor, Ames Construction, has worked diligently to build a quality project in an area known for its geologic and environmental challenges,” said John Njord, executive director of UDOT. “We have more miles to go in connecting the communities within Utah and Wasatch counties, but this is a critical piece as part of that connection.”
As part of the ceremony, Utah Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert, Njord, representatives from Wasatch and Utah counties and other dignitaries loaded onto the Heber Valley Railroad and toured the project. The train left from Vivian Park at 12:45 p.m. and arrived at the trail parking area at approximately 1:30 p.m., where the ceremony was held.
UDOT started construction of this highway section in February 2004. The highway was widened to four lanes along a 4.5 mi. (7.2 km) segment from the junction of S.R. 92 (turnoff to Sundance Recreation area) to just east of Deer Creek Dam. Two new bridges were constructed, one to cross the HVRR line and the other to improve safety by reducing the sharp turns at the dam.
The bridge at the dam spans 500 ft. (152 m) and stands nearly 100 ft. (30 m) tall.
A mile section of the highway is split into two levels, with the westbound lanes being raised as high as 40 ft. (12 m) above the eastbound lanes, which reduced amount of excavation needed along the hillsides and provided additional stability to the area near the Wasatch County line. UDOT also realigned the highway from Horseshoe Bend to Deer Creek Dam to a more suitable and stable location. A section of the old highway in this area remained for local access and a portion of the road will become part of the canyon trail network.
This project required approximately 5,800 cu. yds. (4,400 cu m) of concrete, nearly two million lbs. (900,000 kg) of structural steel, 185,000 sq. ft. (17,100 sq m) of stabilization walls and almost 80,000 tons (72,500 t) of asphalt. Much of the material excavated from the hillsides also was reused as part of the highway construction. Total project cost was $90 million.