Survey being conducted to determine where road widening will occur
Sanpete County commuters will see some immediate road improvements on S.R. 132—the main artery from Pigeon Hollow to Nephi and I-15 and onward to the Wasatch Front—in the next few days and then again next year.
But, they can also look forward to several long-range road widening projects on S.R. 132, which are expected to be completed in phases in the next 10 to 30 years.
Manti Mayor Korry Soper is just one of many people who uses the highway to commute on a daily business for work. His son also drives from Fountain Green to Nephi each day to work at the high school.
Manti City Manager Kent Barton attended a workshop to learn about upcoming road construction projects, Soper said, and S.R. 132 was discussed.
Much of the winding two-lane road, commonly called Nephi Canyon or Salt Creek Canyon, will eventually be widened and passing lanes will be added in congested areas, Soper said. “It’s going to be a big project; it will be done in phases and it won’t be all done in a single year.”
Soper supports any and all efforts to make the road safer and easier to travel on and he believes most of the city council feels the same.
“Yes we support the road improvements,” he said. “We have a lot of commuters traveling through that canyon and we are for anything that will improve the safety of that stretch.”
Kevin Kitchen, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Region 4 Communications Manager in Richfield, verified there are several road widening projects slated for S.R. 132.
There is a project in the planning process that would add two passing lanes in a section of road that extends from the Sanpete County line to Big Springs Loop Road, a few miles north of Fountain Green, between mileposts 41 and 45.
This $6.2 million project was recently funded by the 2021 Utah Legislature through an Infrastructure Project Bill, HB 433, said Kitchen.
“The project area is currently being surveyed and we believe passing lanes would fit within UDOT’s right-of-way, but we should know more when the survey is completed,” Kitchen said.
At this point we have no public comment period planned. Unless there is some impact to some residences or the changes would dramatically change the speed limits, there probably won’t be a public comment period, he said. “But we certainly want the public to know about it.”
Construction on this project is anticipated next year, he said.
There are also four other unfunded long-range projects that are in the works, Kitchen said.
1) An eastbound passing lane on SR-132 between mile markers 37 and 38 is listed as a Phase 2 priority, 10 to 20 years away. The cost estimate in 2018 was about $4.5 million.
2) A westbound passing lane on SR-132 between mile markers 38 and 39 is listed as a Phase 3 priority, 20 to 30 years away. The cost estimate in 2018 was $3.5 million.
3) An additional travel lane from Fountain Green to Moroni shows as needed in the future, but it is not prioritized within the next 30 years, nor funded. The cost estimate in 2018 was over $25 million.
4) Widening SR-132 from Nephi to the Golf Course shows as needed in the future, but is not prioritized within the next 30 years, nor funded. The Planning Estimate in 2018 was over $11 million.
In the immediate future, commuters to Nephi should be aware that new culverts are being installed in the canyon and that minor delays are to be expected.
According to UDOT senior communications manager, Geoff Dupaix, crews will install a new culvert pipe across the roadway at milepost 38.2, beginning Sept. 7 through Sept. 9. To accommodate the work, S.R. 132 will be reduced to one lane with flaggers in place to direct traffic.
On Sept. 10, crews will repave S.R. 132 at the culvert crossing. To accommodate the work, the roadway may have two full closures between Sept. 10 and 14. These closures are anticipated to last 20 minutes each. Drivers are directed to follow flaggers and signage.
Crews will install striping on the roadway from Sept. 15-17. To accommodate the work, S.R. 132 may be reduced to one lane with flaggers in place to direct traffic.
Large trucks and semis, with loads exceeding 12-feet, will be restricted from Sept. 7-15 and must obtain permission from the Motor Carrier Division prior to traveling through the pipe installation area.