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Growth and a proposed highway divide a bucolic Utah community

Tribune Friends of Heber Vally 1-12-23.jpg
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Alice Hicken and Laren Gertsch, who have adjacent properties in the Heber Valley going back generations, are part of a group called Friends of Heber Valley North Fields Coalition, a non-profit started in 2020 to try and bring attention to the changes happening in the area.

Owners of some of the little remaining agricultural land in Wasatch County raise concerns about a proposed traffic-relief project that plows through their fields.

Heber • Dropping into the Heber Valley is like finding a slice of heaven — there’s the wild and winding Provo River, verdant green fields and spectacular views of Mount Timpanogos, the second-highest peak in Utah’s Wasatch Range.

With all its beauty and open space, it’s no wonder people are moving to the area in droves. It’s conveniently close to jobs in Provo and Park City. It has easy access to an outdoor wonderland, from world-class skiing at Deer Valley to hiking and biking at Wasatch State Park to boating and fishing on Jordanelle Reservoir. Wasatch County was the second-fastest growing county in Utah last year, and its population surged by 40% in the last decade, KPCW reports.

Venture to downtown Heber City and the growing pains become clear. A mash-up of semi trucks, RVs, boat trailers and commuter traffic clogs many intersections, particularly at rush hour.

Some residents worry that as the cars pile up, Heber Valley is about to lose what makes it special.

“When I started on City Council,” said former Heber Mayor Kelleen Potter, “it was the No. 1 thing everyone was talking about — ‘we’ve got to do something about Main Street.’”

Read full report here.