GARDEN CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation has all but finished a $5 million ramp designed to stop a 129,000 pound loaded runaway truck going 90 mph, the project manager said Thursday. The event was held at a gas station on U.S. 89 just north of the ramp.
Over the past couple of years, this area has seen a rise in runaway truck crashes at the intersection of Hwy 30 and US 89 in Garden City. Some have resulted in death.
The new truck escape ramp should provide truck drivers with a safe, secure alternative in the event they are out of control coming out of Logan Canyon.
“A truck that uses the ramp will have minor damage and the driver would be able to escape injury and emergency services and a tow truck will be notified immediately,” said Tom Roylance the project manager on the project. “Whatever parts are needed to be replaced can be found in the state road shed and it will only take a short time to replace.”
The system is the first of its kind in Utah, but UDOT officials are already making plans to replicate in other areas in the state. There is one on the way to Jackson Hole in Wyoming and another one in Nevada.
Construction in Rich County began in May and just finished.
“We need truck drivers to know it is there and to use it when they need too,” he said, “before they get themselves in trouble.”
The catch net cable system is similar to the cable catch on an Aircraft Carrier. It takes less distance than other tuck escape ramp systems and is easier on the driver.
“Truck traffic has increased over the past few years,” UDOT spokesman Zach Whitney said. “A trucker not familiar with the route might find it is more tricky than they may have thought before they started driving on it.”
Whitney said the goal of building the truck ramp is to provide a safe way for truck drivers to stop when they’re out of control.
“There were four semi crashes last year. The last crash in August of last year, when a semi-truck ran through the intersection of U.S. 89 and S.R. 30,” Whitney said. “The crashes amplified the need for such a safety measure.”