Recycling Awards 2022: U.S. 89—Fairview, Utah

Feb. 23, 2022

This paving season, crews were able to complete a successful project on U.S. 89, from Fairview, Utah to the Utah County line.

In 2020 the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) identified a 12.9-mile section of U.S. 89 north of Fairview, Utah as a viable cost-effective candidate for cold in-place recycling (CIR). The Fairview to Utah County line project was bid on January 26, 2021.

U.S. Route 89 is one the west’s most scenic highways. Reaching from Mexico to Canada, it’s known as the “National Park Highway.” With over 1,600 miles of a mostly two-lane paved highway, U.S. 89 passes through five states, numerous cities and towns, and is the gateway to seven national parks—including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Glacier—as well as 14 national monuments. Over the past three years, UDOT has conducted three CIR projects on U.S. 89—one each year from 2019 to 2021—totaling nearly 24 miles of placement.

Almost in the center of Utah and midway through the 1,600 miles is Fairview, a rural farming community, nestled in a valley surrounded by the San Pitch and Cedar Hills mountains on the west and Manti-La Sal National Forest on the east. In 1859, Brigham Young directed Mormon settlers to establish communities in the Sanpete Valley. Ninety-five miles south of Salt Lake City and 24 miles north of Ephraim (home of Snow College), Fairview is the largest town on the northeast end of the valley and home of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. Constructed in 1888 and dominating the south end of the valley, the Manti Temple can be seen for miles.

A few miles north of Fairview is the remnants of the town of Thistle. In 1983, a landslide damned the Spanish Fork River and flooded the town, creating a ghost town. This event is the largest most costly natural disaster in Utah’s history. The railroad and U.S. 89 were closed for eight months while being rerouted to the east of the slide. A tunnel was constructed for the railroad.