U-14 Update.....

Last modified on Oct 17, 2013

The Utah Department of Transportation is continuing its work to reopen state Route 14 after a portion of the road was destroyed by a landslide on Oct. 8.  Kevin Kitchen, a public involvement manager for UDOT, said crews are working on preliminary efforts with a general contracting company to lay the groundwork for an overall plan.

"Right now we are drilling core samples on the slide to map out what we will have to move," Kitchen said. "We are also looking at environmental impact, especially with (Coal Creek nearby)." The general contracting company Kiewit, which operates a network of offices across the United States, including one in American Fork, was awarded the bid for the project.

"When we put out the request for proposals, we gave a time range which basically stretched from spring to summer (of 2012)," Kitchen said. "Kiewit said they could expedite the process compared to what we estimated."  Even with Kiewit offering a reduced estimated time frame for the project, Kitchen said UDOT is not comfortable giving an estimated date for the project's completion.  "It's up in the air right now," Kitchen said. "There are still a large number of unknowns."

UDOT designers will work with Kiewit to analyze the data discovered from core samples and environmental impact studies in an effort to create an optimal design for SR-14, he said.  Kitchen said work has continued though the winter months despite high winds and snowstorms.  "We are working to expedite the process in what we call critical priorities to get them done up front," he said. "This is things like forging pathways and roads for equipment and maintaining accessibility for workers."

Iron County Commissioner Dan Webster expressed excitement about the work on SR-14 at an Iron County Commission meeting on Monday.  "Things are moving right along," he said. "Once (Kiewit) starts working, they are going to push right through. I think we'll have this done sooner than we expected."  While some are expressing optimism about the project, the closure of SR-14 continues to serve as an inconvenience for residents who have routinely added an hour or more to their commute times since the landslide.

"I have no doubt they are doing all they can," said Brian Allen, who travels from Cedar City to various locations in Garfield County for his job. "It's frustrating. It's extra time and money for gas that I just don't have." UDOT continues to pour additional resources into keeping alternative routes across Cedar Mountain and to the communities of Duck Creek and Brian Head open during the winter, Kitchen said.

"There was one point where we had to shut the gates on (state Route 143) because of high winds," Kitchen said. "Other than that, we've been able to keep everything up and open."  UDOT advises motorists traveling between Interstate 15 in Iron County and state Route 89 in Garfield County to use state Route 20 as an alternate route. Cabin owners in Duck Creek have to travel on SR-89 from the Long Valley Junction.

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