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Sam Penrod ReportingAfter more than three years a road construction project is finally done.
UDOT has been widening the highway in Provo Canyon and today officially opened the new stretch of road.
Drivers now have a four-lane highway, two lanes in each direction from the mouth of the Canyon to beyond the Deer Creek Dam.
State leaders held a ribbon cutting this afternoon. They used an engine from the Heber Valley Railroad in the background to help officially open the highway.
The highway improvements have been in the works for many years. First, through the planning and environmental stages. Then to construction, which finished up late last week.
In all there are four and a half new miles of highway between the Sundance turnoff going east to beyond the dam at Deer Creek Reservoir.
Two new bridges were built: one that has the highway going over the route of the Heber Valley Railroad, and the most dramatic change is a bridge spanning the dam area, which means drivers will no longer travel on the dam itself. John Njord, executive director of UDOT, says, "The first phase was to get through Provo Canyon, and the next is to get all the way over to Heber, so we'll be working to take this four lane section all the way into Heber City."
According to UDOT, work crews used 5800 cubic yards of concrete, nearly two million pounds of structural steel, 185,000 square feet of stabilization walls and almost 80,000 tons of asphalt.
UDOT believes safety will be much better in the canyon with the new lanes.
In all, the improvements to the highway in Provo Canyon cost $90 million to complete.