Unsafe Section of Utah’s I-15 Has Motorists Concerned

A few miles north of Brigham City, between Corrine and Honeyville, a 7-mile stretch of I-15 has blown apart, leaving pockets of potholes in its wake. According to KSL News, the highway repair job in this area, that should have been taken care of during the summer of 2016, was put off due to budget constraints. Instead of properly repairing the highway, the Utah Department of Transportation authorized that this section be covered with a one-inch layer of asphalt, until they can get to it later in 2017. According to spokesman Vic Saunders: “We have a one-inch surface on top of the original pavement that is coming out in chunks about a foot long and maybe five and six inches wide.” What a mess!

One of the readers, Sciencenerd, who commented on the KSL story, wrote:

“One inch deep is really pushing it. I drive it regularly and there is a huge hole in the right lane heading north. I thought I blew a tire a few days ago. I was fine but there were two cars pulled over down the road within a mile. I can’t say for sure it was a blown tire but the odds are very high. My estimate is that there are over 100 holes in that 8 mile stretch with a handful being much deeper than one inch. Six months is way to long to wait to fix it.”

Another reader, Darcymae, thinks that many are blowing the highway problem out of proportion: “What a bunch of whiners! That section of road isn’t great but I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous. Like they said, it’s 1″ deep holes, not deep dangerous potholes we’re talking about! It wasn’t damaged before these last few snow storms so why would they have repaired it last year. And they can’t fix it in the middle of winter! We’ll all have to be patient. Apparently that’s difficult for some of us.”

Addressing the get-over-it group of readers, Jen33 wrote: “Please tell me when the last time was that you drove it.. because I drive it a couple times a week and it is as bad as people are saying or worse! And if you haven’t heard, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Call it whining but obviously you don’t know how bad it really is. And it needs to be fixed right, not the cheapest way possible.”

After reading the story and the comments, my take is that UDOT needs to:

1. Try and patch the holes the best they can, knowing that permanent fixes will have to wait until it’s warmer;

2. Put up warning signs, including illuminated signs, that warn of the road hazards and the need to slow down;

3. Reduce the speed limit to something like 50-60 so motorists can scout ahead for the hazards and avoid them.

4. I know it’s costly, but they should also put a UHP trooper or two on patrol in this area to raise awareness of the hazards and to enforce the slower speed limit.

At any rate, the state is now definitely on notice that a hazardous road condition exists and could potentially be held responsible if its response to this notice is seen as ineffective or unreasonable. Hopefully, everyone can navigate this section of the road safely so there will be no crashes to blog about!