Escape truck ramp being built on U.S. 89 in Utah
March 3, 2020
A dangerous section of U.S. 89 in Utah is getting attention from the Utah Department of Transportation in the form of a new “escape truck ramp.”
On Feb. 21, the Utah Transportation Commission agreed to additional funding for a project in Garden City in northern Utah. The project is an escape truck ramp on U.S. 89.
UDOT discovered that the location would either need to be longer or have additional features included to support stopping a vehicle’s momentum than initially projected. The department chose to go with a “concrete apron to help guide the vehicle into the optimum entrance and a more dense restraint system,” according to commission documents.
Originally, the project was estimated to cost $4 million. Now, the department is seeking another $1 million for the project. Rather than seek additional right-of-way and slope easements, UDOT chose the concrete aprons.
Slope easements are the impact fees that property owners receive to build up supporting slopes on their property. UDOT does not own the property where the escape truck ramp is being built.
Additional funding for the escape truck ramp was approved by the commission with a unanimous vote.
Escape truck ramps are part of UDOT’s freight plan. According to UDOT freight plan documents from 2017, the department listed identifying inventory of escape ramps as an accomplishment in its 2040 freight forecast. Both long- and short-term focuses involve truck chain-up areas and escape truck ramps. Long-term truck parking is also one of the focus areas.
According to UDOT, Utah had the ninth-lowest share of truck involvement in fatal crashes. Additionally, truck traffic is 23% of total traffic on Utah’s highways. Nationally, the average is only 12%. This is among the highest percentage of truck traffic in the U.S.
Utah has a relatively high concentration of trucking business. More than 15,000 trucking companies are based in Utah. Furthermore, more than 1% of the country’s registered commercial trailers are in Utah, ranking the state 20th in that category.