Sanpete to develop master
plan for roads
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—Sanpete County is beginning an effort to develop a transportation master plan covering existing and future roads throughout the unincorporated area.
“Sanpete County is experiencing increased growth…and an increase in commuting to the Wasatch Front,” Commissioner Ed Sunderland said in a memo outlining the project. “A transportation master plan will allow the county to make informed decisions on road maintenance, improvements and future routes.”
The memo, which was presented and approved at the Jan. 19 commission meeting, said the master plan would focus on safety, road use, road conditions, future growth, corridor preservation (rights of way for roads), bike lanes, trails and improving access to recreation opportunities.
The planning effort started when Jones and Demille Engineering of Richfield and Manti, which does most engineering consulting for the county, found out the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) was offering transportation planning grants to counties.
The engineering firm submitted an application, and the county received a $60,000 grant, which will go to the firm for the planning work.
Concerns about how growth is affecting “limited-access” (private) roads, along with county and state roads, was aired at a county commission meeting 18 months ago.
In July, 2019, the commission called in two staff members from the UDOT Richfield office to talk about what happens when a private farm road starts to be used as an access road to a subdivision, and when traffic from the subdivision starts to flow onto county and state roads.
Without UDOT approval of the private road that is being used as a public road, the staff members said the farmer or other owner of the land the one-time private road crosses is legally liable for any injury or damage to people or vehicles traveling on the road.
If UDOT is notified of the subdivision and intent to use the private road as an access, the agency can accept the private road as a legal access, can conduct a traffic study, and can identify any improvements needed to handle the additional traffic flowing from the subdivision onto state roads, the UDOT staff told the commission.
Garrick Willden, senior engineer for Jones and Demille, said the transportation master plan would address all roads in the county, both those administered by the county and state roads.
Jones and Demille will gather traffic count data UDOT has collected in recent years, plus conduct some traffic counts of its own.
“We want to see where growth is, to project future growth in traffic counts,” so the county can start planning for roads or road widening where they will be needed, Willden said.
A public hearing will be conducted to get input from local residents and leaders of Sanpete municipalities.
Then Jones and Demille will develop a short-term (0-5 years) capital improvements list, with cost estimates, as well as a long-term improvements lists (5-20 years) with estimates.
The master plan will also address acquiring rights-of-way for future roads and protecting any rights-of-way that now exist.