© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kamas Valley residents concerned about air quality on highly-trafficked unpaved road

The low evening sun highlights West 200 South's haze, which residents say traffic creates.
Katie Cannarella
The low evening sun highlights West 200 South's haze, which residents blame on increased traffic.

Homeowners west of Kamas say Tuhaye's construction vehicles are causing safety issues and impacting quality of life.

West 200 South runs from state Route 248, through the Ure Ranch, by the Kamas Gun Club and into the back of Tuhaye, a gated golf and residential community.

Residents along 200 South, like Katie Cannarella, say traffic has turned the unpaved road into a dust bowl over the past few years.

“I can't even tell you the hundreds of thousands of dump truck loads that have been up and down this road,” Cannarella said. “Some days, it's just all day long.”

She and several neighbors have voiced safety and wellness concerns at Summit County Council meetings, and now the council has scheduled a formal discussion at its June 12 meeting.

But any solution is bound to be complicated: the issue spans two counties and at least three separate residential communities.

Summit County

In addition to heavy dust, Cannarella and other residents say they’re concerned about vehicle emissions, speeding and noise.

She believes the traffic is construction-related because the gun club down the road is open at most two days a week. Tuhaye and Wakara, which are both in Wasatch County, are building homes and other facilities.

Trucks drive to and from Tuhaye and Wakara.
Katie Cannarella
Trucks drive to and from Tuhaye and Wakara.

Her neighbor Andy Bath also wonders what kind of strain large trucks put on 200 South, and how much that costs Summit County taxpayers in maintenance.

“Summit County—their sheriff's department—doesn't even own scales, and so it's a free-for-all how much weight they put on these trucks,” Bath said.

A Summit County staff report published June 6 lays out potential solutions, but each comes with trade-offs.

Paving West 200 South?

200 South could be paved, which would mitigate dust. Tuhaye has already paved it up to the Summit County line.

The development previously offered to pave 200 South at least to Democrat Alley, but Summit County declined that offer. According to the county’s staff report, Tuhaye is still willing to pave the road and pay for its maintenance.

Dust drifts across Cannarella's land.
Katie Cannarella
Dust drifts across Cannarella's land.

Cannarella worries that it wouldn't solve every issue.

“We would prefer not to see it paved, mainly because we know it's going to be a drag strip,” she said.

This year, Summit County conducted a speed study of 2,600 vehicles, 600 of those being large trucks, from April 30 to May 3. It found half the vehicles were faster than the 35 mph speed limit; the highest recorded speed was 97 mph.

Cannarella’s preferred alternative is routing all construction through Tuhaye’s front entrance, which is a more direct route.

Tuhaye’s construction team has already altered its traffic so half of it uses the front. Steve Mair, Tuhaye’s construction and compliance manager, said a third access point closer to Hideout will open later this year.

Previously, the front entrance was members-only, and the back was primarily for construction, though Mair said members are allowed to enter and exit through the back.

Impacts cross county lines

The other option is closing 200 South with a crash gate. That would block most public access while preserving emergency access.

But when Summit County officials reached out to Wasatch County officials, Wasatch County Manager Dustin Grabau said, they weren’t aware that Tuhaye’s back entrance is the primary entrance for the much-smaller Wakara development.

A crash gate could completely block Wakara, and it may also block access to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Kamas West Hills Wildlife Management Area.

DWR told Summit County it supports reducing construction traffic, so long as it can retain administrative and some public access.

Summit County staff say locating a crash gate farther up 200 South, just past the Kamas Gun Club, could be a compromise. There’s another unpaved road connecting 200 South to state Route 248 that wouldn’t be blocked.

Grabau said Wasatch County’s priority is to ensure projects have multiple access points for safe egress in an emergency.

“We want to be sensitive to everyone involved,” the Wasatch County manager said. “And just because someone's across a county line doesn't mean that we don't care at all about what their opinions are. And I think Summit County feels the same about ours as well.”

Construction at Tuhaye and Wakara isn’t stopping any time soon. Mair estimates Tuhaye is almost a third of the way to full buildout.

The Summit County Council discussion is scheduled for 3:10 at the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction June 12. Click here to attend online.

The item is discussion-only; no final decisions will be made Wednesday.