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Summit County favors closing back road to Tuhaye to mitigate traffic

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

Kamas Valley residents raised air quality and wellness concerns about the highly-trafficked unpaved road.

Note: As of Tuesday, June 25, the official vote on installing a crash gate was not on the Wednesday, Jun 26, county council agenda.

The county intends to install a crash gate on West 200 South near the Summit-Wasatch county line to address resident concerns about dust, emissions, speeding and noise on the unpaved road.

They blame construction traffic generated by Tuhaye in Wasatch County.

The Summit County Council decided June 12 that a gate is the simplest, cheapest solution.

It will block all but emergency and pedestrian access to and from Wasatch County, depending on where it’s placed.

“This crash gate is serving as a back-of-house, essentially an emergency exit for that neighborhood. The construction vehicles still have the opportunity to go in the front doors like everyone else to be able to do the construction that they need to do,” Council Chair Malena Stevens said. “We've just limited access through the areas of Summit County that they wouldn't need to go.”

On June 13, representatives from Tuhaye’s homeowners association declined to comment at least until the gate is formally approved.

200 South resident Andy Bath was pleasantly surprised to hear all councilmembers in attendance June 12 support a crash gate.

He said he noticed several Tuhaye representatives and developers expressing their displeasure to Summit County engineer Mike Kendell after the meeting.

“I just hope some of the county council just sticks to their guns, and sticks to doing the right thing, and they install the crash gate. Absolutely,” Bath said.

Summit County residents along West 200 South (above) say they've been in a haze ever since construction ramped up at Tuhaye, just across the Wasatch County line.
Katie Cannarella
Summit County residents along West 200 South (above) say they've been in a haze ever since construction ramped up at Tuhaye, just across the Wasatch County line.

The council still must vote to approve the 200 South closure. Stevens says they plan to do that at their next meeting, scheduled for June 26.

Deputy Civil Attorney Dave Thomas says councilmembers can close the road because they double as Summit County’s Highway Authority, and 200 South is a county road.

County staff say they’ll place a gate far enough down 200 South not to restrict access to the Kamas Gun Club or Division of Wildlife Resources land used for recreation and wildlife preservation.

The Wasatch County Council has said the closure may block the primary access for the Wakara development, also called Black Rock Estates. Black Rock Estates’ developer did not immediately return a request for comment June 13.

County staff are exploring putting the gate just south of the gun club, which keeps another unpaved road from state Route 248 to 200 South open. It’s not clear if that road is suited for large trucks or if they would also be seen as a nuisance to property owners.

“They didn't shoot it down, but I don't want to put up a false pretense that this has a real high probability of happening,” Kendell said. “It's more of a shot in the dark if everything else failed.”

The county considered paving the road, but residents didn’t favor the option for fear it could encourage speeding. The county also worried about road maintenance costs and speed limit enforcement.

Kendell said Tuhaye offered on June 10 to help maintain the road if it’s kept open, but it rescinded an earlier offer to pay to pave it.

Updated: June 25, 2024 at 3:44 PM MDT
This story was updated with a note that the Summit County Council did not put an official vote on its Wednesday, June 26, agenda.
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