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EDEN, Weber County — The Utah Department of Transportation will embark on an $8 million project this summer that aims to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on the treacherous Powder Mountain Road.
The project will “rehabilitate” the pavement on state Route 158 between Eden and Powder Mountain Ski Resort, according to UDOT spokesman Vic Saunders. It will also include upgrades to road shoulders and drainage, as well as cross slope and road geometry improvements.
The road’s last 5 miles from Eden to Powder Mountain have an average grade of about 14%, Saunders said, making it one of the steepest highways in Utah.
In November, a man in a cement truck died after an apparent brake failure on state Route 158; a cargo truck crashed there and killed a man in January 2019, and a man died in a street sweeper on the road in August 2018.
“The pavement north from Eden up to Powder Mountain is very windy, and it is very active geologically,” Saunders said. “The road cracks and the pavement is in bad condition, so we have to go in there periodically and resurface that roadway to keep the pavement in a better condition. There’s places along it where drainage needs to be improved, and all sorts of other little tweaks that we need to do, and will do.”
Saunders said the rehabilitation is necessary every five to seven years. The project is currently being designed and, after a competitive bidding process, is expected to be completed this summer, Saunders said.
Just east of the Pineview Dam, UDOT will realign Powder Mountain Road for about a tenth of a mile to lessen the risk of falling rocks for passing motorists.
“December 15 of 2018, a fellow coming from Eden was driving along this section right by the Pineview Dam when a rock came down the hill and crashed through the windshield of his vehicle and into the cab of his pickup truck,” Saunders said. “He ended up going to the hospital for serious injuries.
“A rockfall like that is very rare, but we do have rocks that fall on the roadway. It’s a very active geologic area. So we started looking for ways that we could do something to prevent rocks from coming out on the road.”
UDOT will shift the road closer to the reservoir and build a barrier along the roadway designed to contain falling rocks. “And then periodically we would go in there and clean the barrier out from behind,” Saunders said.
Of the project’s $8 million budget, $1.2 million is slated for shoulder improvement work, including the road realignment. Other shoulder work will occur between the junction of Powder Mountain Road and Ogden Canyon Highway and 3100 North.