Commuters between Manti and Gunnison are in for a summer of delays due to road construction.
A re-paving project will begin Wednesday and is expected to last well through the summer. The construction zone will stretch effectively from the city limits of Manti to Gunnison and will restrict traffic to one lane in some areas.
The renovations will involve milling old pavement, shouldering work, upgrading barriers and laying more than 50,000 tons of asphalt over the whole stretch, according to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
“Safety obviously is going to be a primary consideration, and we ask people to please keep the workers safe,” said Kevin Kitchen, a Central Utah spokesman for UDOT.
He said UDOT will post signals and assign flaggers and pilot cars to guide traffic; residents should plan for 15-20-minute delays while the project is underway.
He added that drivers who enter directly into the U.S. 89 construction zone, such as from Christianburg Road or S.R. 137 coming from Mayfield, should take extra care not to disrupt the guided flow of traffic.
The construction will particularly impact driving in Sterling with alternating one-way traffic, he added.
“I think they will do their best to keep their work limited to areas where it won’t cause cutoffs,” but drivers who use specific side streets in Sterling will have to plan routes according to drivers moving together in changing directions, he said. Residences near the construction can also expect to experience noise and dust.
The company gave an estimate of working 120 days, not including weekends. That comes out to 24 weeks, which would end in mid-September, but Kitchen said that could be pushed back if delays occur due to weather. Contractors will work from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.
He said drivers should take into account that delays will be longer during “general commuter peak times,” including shift changes at the prison, sporting events and school dismissal times.
UDOT is also planning to upgrade a shed it uses off U.S. 89 near Gunnison for highway communications. The system involves traffic cameras and other electronic communications. These cameras can be seen on a UDOT traffic smartphone app. The state also uses a private server for internal use of the information the communications stations provide.
UDOT also has a public information hotline that can be called anytime at 800-292-3557.