The speed limit along a two mile stretch of Sr 224 has dropped from 55 MPH to 45 MPH. The new sign went in Tuesday. KPCW has reached out to multiple agencies to find some details about the change and what it means for enforcement efforts.
If you travel SR 224 from Park City to Kimball Junction, you’re likely aware of the frequency that the speed limit changes through the corridor. The Utah Department of Transportation told KPCW they worked with the city mayor last spring to address the safety issues on a two mile stretch near the White Barn. UDOT Region 2 Communications Manager Courtney Samuel said the number of accidents between wildlife and vehicles has been high for about a decade and getting worse in the past five years.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve found there have been 100 collisions on SR 224 from milepost seven to nine. So, it’s a two-mile stretch. The last five years of the hundred plus crashes, there have been 70. And Park City had a concern about that but really the entire county, it’s a concern for wildlife collisions.”
Samuel says the change in speed will take some adjustment for motorists. SR 224 is a state road under the Utah Highway Patrol’s jurisdiction, but they will rely heavily on the local efforts from the Park City Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s office. When KPCW contacted them for comment, both local agency’s Public Information Officers were unaware of UDOT’s speed limit change.
Samuel says the stretch of SR 224 has a range of speed limits from 35 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour. UDOT traffic and safety will monitor the change to see if it affects the number of collisions. They may look at additional ways to improve safety.
Samuel says UDOT has found the wildlife bridge on I-80 at the top of Parley’s Canyon to be extremely successful. There is a tunnel under SR 22 at the McPolin white barn, but Samuel doesn’t know if any additional crossing will be considered in that two mile stretch between milepost 7 and 9 which is where they’ve lowered speeds to 45. UDOT, he says, is aware that the stretch of road is a wildlife migratory route.
“We’re having a huge success with the wildlife bridge over I-80 in Parley’s Canyon. SR 224 has not necessarily been a discussion. I have not heard of that but we’re always looking at areas potentially where the wildlife bridge could be effective, especially where there’s a frequent amount of crossing which a lot of 224 has that. We’ll have to go ahead and evaluate even further to see if that is a viable option.”
They plan to study the area for the next 18 months. KPCW will continue to follow the effects of the change and bring updates from the Save People Save Wildlife organization which is based in the Park City area.