Project Spotlight: State Route 87 Intersection Improvements Concept Study
Client: Utah Department of Transportation
Location: Talmage, UT
Project Duration: June 2021
Services: Transportation engineering
Utah State Route 87 (SR-87) spans 37 miles and connects communities in Duchesne County. A county road intersecting SR-87 at Mile Post 7.6 services a landfill and oil refinery. Large trucks regularly turning off SR-87 onto the county road were constrained by an existing power pole on the intersection corner, forcing the trucks to make a very wide turn and drive into the oncoming traffic lane.
UDOT engaged FOCUS transportation engineers to develop a concept study to address this safety concern. Working within the constraints of a limited budget and no ground survey data, FOCUS used an aerial survey to design and cost appropriate improvements. Data gathered from a traffic volume study identified that while there were low volumes, the large vehicles were making a wide turn to avoid hitting the power pole.
Working with a limited right-of-way, FOCUS examined potential solutions including widening SR-87 to add a right turn lane, a left turn lane, and an acceleration lane in both the north and southbound directions. Each of these solutions presented an increase in project costs.
Through coordination with UDOT and Duchesne County, the decision was made to shift the county road north, away from the power pole, and create a new intersection. While some additional right-of-way was needed, the design solution will significantly improve road safety.