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U-111 safety features questioned after deadly crash

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SOUTH JORDAN -- An early-morning car crash that left a child dead and her mother critically injured has called into question safety improvements on a Salt Lake County highway.

The Bacchus Highway, otherwise known as U-111, features one lane in each direction and drivers cruise over it at high rates of speed. There are few traffic control devices like lighted intersections. When cars collide on the road, it often leads to serious injuries or death.

Changes such as rumble strips or lights might help mitigate those crashes, but not all rural highways in Utah have those upgrades.

The director for Salt Lake County's Engineering and Flood Division says engineers track accidents on all county roads. They study the volume of traffic, as well as the numbers and cause of crashes when determining what changes are needed to improve safety.

Tweaks can also include increasing lane widths, expanding medians or improving water drainage.

"The two crashes that occured on U-111 and Bacchus Hwy this week are very tragic," Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Adan Carrillo said. "It's the very thing we try to avoid at all costs."

Carillo said more traffic on a particular stretch of road means higher priority for repairs or upgrades. Limited budgets require a selective approach to choosing where and when to make improvements.

A new paving project is scheduled for U-111 in 2017.

UDOT's website has a map which outlines the priorities of projects for Utah's roads.

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Heather McShane


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