ST. GEORGE – Old Highway 91 and Forest Highway 35 between Central and Pine Valley will be safer for travelers with $800,000 in safety improvements paid for in large part by a federal grant Washington County received.
Safety enhancements will include improved striping, warning signs and extending culverts farther from the edge of the road, Washington County Public Works Director Ron Whitehead said.
The additional funding will help improve safety on old Highway 91 in conjunction with a bigger project that will rebuild old Highway 91 from Gunlock Road to the Arizona state line, Whitehead said. That project is expected to begin in fall of 2016.
“It’s an older road and it’s been there a long time,” he said. “They’ve changed a lot of the safety features and requirements to make things better. We’re trying to get that up to standard. It’s being used more and more now, especially since they’ve been working on the (Interstate through the Virgin River) Gorge.”
The County Commission Tuesday approved an agreement with Utah Department of Transportation to commit to spending $54,160 in matching funds for a $745,840 federal grant provided through the Utah Statewide Transportation Improvement program. UDOT will oversee the project.
“There’s certain qualifications those roads have to meet. There has to have been accidents occur on that road and areas that they think they can go in and make safety enhancements for them to make the roads much safer for the traveling public,” Whitehead said.
The two roads fit the criteria, he said, and a funding application was made a couple of years ago. A year ago, officials found out they were in the running for the grant but thought it would be in the $200,000 range.
“I don’t know what happened, but now it’s $800,000,” Whitehead said.
The 7 percent match required by the county is a good deal for the county. Whitehead is not sure when the grant money will actually be received.
In other business, the commission appointed representatives of county municipalities to Special Service District No. 1, the Solid Waste Control Board. Representatives were appointed from Apple Valley, Enterprise, Hurricane, Ivins, LaVerkin, Leeds, New Harmony, Rockville, Santa Clara, Springdale, St. George and Toquerville.
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