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CENTRAL UTAH -- A significant project to improve Utah's Highway 6 is nearing completion. Monday the Utah Department of Transportation opened a new rest stop along the road, which is the main corridor between southeast Utah and the Wasatch Front.
UDOT is wrapping up 10 years of work on U.S. Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon. The latest effort is a brand new rest area in between Price and Spanish Fork. It was built not only with safety in mind -- to give drivers a place to rest -- but also to celebrate the heritage of this region of the state.
"This place has so much history with railroads and mining, we thought it would be good to emphasize that in the theme of our rest area facility here," said UDOT Executive Director John Njord. "I think anyone who stops here is going to get a taste of Utah and this part of Utah by coming to this facility."
Fatalities on U.S. 6
Instead of a ribbon cutting, a rail splitting ceremony was held to officially open the Tie Forks rest area. It replaces the old Tucker rest area, which was demolished to eliminate a dangerous curve in the highway.
The building itself is modeled after a railroad depot. Not only are there restrooms, but it shares tourist information about the region, giving travelers a look at history of southeastern Utah. There's also a model of a vintage locomotive to symbolize the importance of the railroad.
UDOT calls the rest area the capstone to a significant investment to improve the highway's safety.
UDOT has completed 56 improvement projects on U.S. 6 over the last decade with a combined budget of $239 Million.
"I think anybody that drives state road 6 on a regular basis has seen some pretty dramatic changes over the last decade," Njord said. "I think the new signage that's out there, the expanded highway, we've got two lanes in each direction for a lot of this road now, where just 10 years ago there wasn't any of that."
UDOT lists 56 separate improvement areas along the highway over the past 10 years at a cost of $239 million.
Over the past five years, UDOT says fatalities along Highway 6 are down and believes the road improvements are part of the reason why.