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Speed limit reduced to 45 mph on Hwy 224 from Kimball Junction to Park City this week

Renai Bodley Miller
The speed limit along 224 corridor near McPolin barn was reduced to 45 mph in 2019. Starting this week, the speed limit will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph from Kimball Junction to Park City proper.

People used to driving 55 miles an hour off I-80 along the 224 corridor are in for a surprise. This week the speed limit was reduced to 45 miles an hour.  

Wildlife collisions along S.R. 224 have long been a concern for the Park City community. Just last year, three moose were killed within a few feet of one another just days apart. In those accidents, a mother and her baby and a bull moose collided with cars at the intersection of Highway 224 and Cutter.

Megan Levitt, a Park City resident, lived near the area and said it haunted her for weeks.

“I lived in Bear Hollow at the time and having to drive by the scene where three dead moose were killed and seeing the blood splatter and the remains was just heartbreaking and devastating to drive by and be reminded of every day.”

According to a study by Utah Department of Transportation in 2019, Highway 224 was fifth in the state for vehicle and wildlife crashes. The study prompted UDOT to change the speed limit in 2019 on one part of the highway near the McPolin barn but left the northern portion of 224 near Kimball Junction at 55 miles per hour. This week, that’s changing.

UDOT spokesperson John Gleason says it’s time to have a consistent speed limit from Kimball Junction to Park City.

“We are seeing that people are complying with the speed limit. And so if you do have collisions, be it with wildlife or with other vehicles, the severity of those collisions would be less severe.”

Gleason said the Summit County Council and the nonprofit Save People Save Wildlife worked with UDOT to get the speed limit changed.

Tom Farkas is a board member of Save People Save Wildlife. He says they’ve been working for over a year on the speed limit reduction and other strategies to prevent wildlife collisions on 224.

“We felt really strongly that in order to try to help drivers recognize that if the speed limit were no greater than 45 miles an hour for the entire length of the S.R. 224, then that would help drivers understand, make it easier for them to comply with that lower speed limit, and also make compliance and enforcement a little easier for those that have responsibility for that.”

Farkas said speed limit isn’t the only deterrent. Save People Save Wildlife is working with UDOT on yellow flashing deer signs that indicate wildlife presence on both sides of 224 around the Swaner Preserve. The organizations may also install two similar signs with elk around McPolin farm since they migrate over 224 frequently.

“We tried to get a yellow diamond flashing moose sign at Cutter,” he said. “But apparently, according to UDOT, and how they define what animals, generally they pick the animal for the sign that's the most frequent in the area, and they agreed that they would do the elk at McPolin, because that's where the herd crosses back and forth, you know, twice a day. But they didn't agree that there were, you know, the moose was the predominant species in the area.”

Gleason says the installation of all the new 45 mph signs will be completed this week.