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New study shows most dangerous roads in Summit and Wasatch counties

A study shows
Mountainland Association of Governments
A study showed where crashes are likeliest in the Heber Valley, left, and Park City areas.

A new study reveals the most dangerous roads for crashes in Summit and Wasatch counties.

The Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), a state organization serving areas including Summit and Wasatch counties, commissioned a traffic study that revealed crash trends and high-risk locations across the Wasatch Back.

Between 2018 and 2022, Summit County saw over 3,500 crashes, while Wasatch County saw more than 3,700 during the same five-year period. That excludes crashes in areas out of the state’s purview like I-80.

MAG program manager and Rural Planning Organization director Bob Allen said the study was done as part of a federal grant to create a safety action plan for the counties. It’s called Safe Streets for All.

“We look at data as far as the crashes that have happened in the past, trying to understand correlations between the system and why those crashes occurred, and trying to identify projects to fix those problems,” he said.

In Wasatch County, according to the study, 5% or about 180 of the crashes led to serious injury, and 1% or just fewer than 40 were fatal.

In the Heber Valley, the busiest arteries account for almost three-quarters of severe crashes, including north U.S. 40, southwest U.S. 189 and South Main Street in Heber City.

Two Wasatch High students were hit by cars on Heber’s Main Street in September.

Outside the Heber City area, the county’s crash hotspots included U.S. 189, state Route 248 and state Route 35.

Summit County saw a lower rate of serious injuries than its neighbor, with 3% or a little over 100 crashes. And there were just half the number of fatalities in the same period: 0.5% of crashes, or 17 total.

State Routes 224 and 248 had some of the highest crash rates in the county.

In and around Park City, collisions happened most often on Kearns Boulevard, Ute Boulevard, Deer Valley Drive and Marsac Avenue.

Allen said understanding those danger spots is a key part of making the streets safer.

“It’s helping us kind of drill down into… where can we take the limited funds that are available,” he said, “and where can we do the most good with them.”

Wasatch County Councilmember Kendall Crittenden said the project will use the data to determine where to implement new safety features.

“We need to improve traffic safety for pedestrians,” he said. “Some of it might be putting bike lanes in places that we don’t have them, and trails.”

Now, MAG wants residents to share their feedback about road safety as the next step in its Safety Action Plan.

A new survey is now open for all travelers in the counties to share concerns about dangerous driving behavior and spots they feel the least safe. The survey also asks what would make people feel safer on county roads.

Next, Allen said MAG will use public feedback to apply for another federal grant to pay for those safety updates.

“We’re hoping that our planning process will be complete early this spring, maybe into the summer, so we’re prepared for the next round of grant funding that we can apply for actual implementation grants,” he said.

Those changes could include things like speed limit adjustments, improvements to crosswalk visibility, new road markings and more.

More public meetings about the safe streets project will be announced later this winter. To access the survey, visit the Mountainlands website.

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