Park City municipal purchased the Bonanza Flat property in 2017. The property is located outside the city’s jurisdiction in Wasatch County. The logistics of a municipalities property in another county, continues to be a challenge for both Park City and Wasatch County. The latest discussion revolves around the right of way of Wasatch County roads on the property.
At the Wednesday Wasatch County Council meeting County Manager Mike Davis clarified an earlier declaration made about Guardsman Pass Road, Pine Canyon Road and Empire Pass Road. The roads connect Big Cottonwood Canyon, Park City and Midway and are located within the Bonanza Flat property that Park City purchased in 2017.
Davis says that the state designated the roads as highways about 90 years ago and later transferred the portions of state road, and the road’s right of way to Wasatch County in 1990. The county now has jurisdiction over the road, but Davis says Park City has asked the county to limit the right of way from the current 66 feet to 24 feet. Davis explains why the county wants to preserve the right of way.
“So that whatever we need to do to that road, to repair it or to even make for bike lanes or anything like that that we’ll have that ability to address any safety issues," Davis explained. "We’re not looking to try and increase traffic on the road. We’re not looking to expand the capacity of the road it just is what it is.”
Although the right of way is 66 feet Davis says that the width of the asphalt on the roads vary from 20 to 35 feet, he doesn’t believe any future projects would use much more of the 66 foot right of way.
“The ability to expand for traffic probably doesn't exist," Davis continued. "The ability to expand for pedestrian or bicycle likely does, if we have the 66 feet. We feel very strongly that the plans that have been projected for use on the property from Park City is that it will increase public use. There will be more people hiking, more people biking and so forth. We want to be able in the future when that happens to accommodate that safely. Currently if people and bicycles and pedestrian traffic are on that road there are safety issues. We certainly want to be able to address those safety issues. We want people to be safe up there. We won't be able to do that unless we can work within that right of way.”
Davis says Wasatch County along with the state did some safety improvements on the roads last year.
“There's a couple very steep places that are quite narrow," Davis said. "Last year we did some safety improvements, we put in guardrail, put some netting so that the rocks won't the road from the hillside that so steep next to it. Those are the types of things were just trying to keep maintaining. We know that as Park City looks to put a conservation easement on the bonanza flat property—which we support—we want that conservation easement to recognize what the state and Wasatch County already owned. What's been there for decades, and that's all we're asking.”
Davis says that in addition to the 66 foot right of way the county also has jurisdiction to maintain cuts, fills, and drains as part of continued maintenance of the roads.
“There are places along the road where they had to cut the road, or they had to fill that exceed that 66 feet; particularly at the top near guardsman pass where that road is on a very steep hillside," David explained. "Just to build the 20 to 24 feet of asphalt there, they had to go to a couple hundred feet down at maybe 50 or 60 feet up to stabilize that platform. To maintain the stability of the platform we may in the future have to work within those cut and fill areas to make sure it remains stable. We're not looking to expand it that is never been the case, but we do have to maintain it.”
Davis also noted in the Wednesday meeting that the road is used by members of the counties and even provides access for a state park.