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A run-a-way ramp is 30 days from completion, but it isn’t soon enough

Semi crash in Garden City Photo: J. Douglas Porter

GARDEN CITY, Utah — For the fifth time in less than two years, there has been a crash at a Garden City intersection. 

 Witnesses told Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) officers that just before a semi-truck crashed into the Lighthouse Landing Gift Shop at the intersection of  Highway 89 and Bear Lake Boulevard, it appeared the truck’s brakes were on fire.

 

UDOT spokesman John Gleason said the road comes off a very steep hill, and many long-haul drivers from other areas of the country travel on flatter terrain.

UHP Corporal Andrew Battenfield said the driver was from Texas and may have been unfamiliar with this area.

Gleason said UDOT is about a month away from completing construction on an emergency ramp in the area to stop further trucks from crashing in this area. In the meantime, they are teaming with UHP and trucking companies across the country to educate drivers.

“Generally what we’ve found is if there’s a crash, it’s usually due to driver inexperience, not realizing their brakes aren’t working properly, or another type of malfunction,” said Gleason.

Photo courtesy of J. Douglas Porter

 At this exit from US-89, UDOT is constructing a new emergency ramp to prevent further accidents.  Gleason said, “we had to think outside the box on this one.”

The road is too short for a traditional ‘run-away’ ramp, so UDOT is using a cable system that wraps around the truck slowing it down and eventually bringing the truck to a stop. UDOT expects the ramp’s construction will be completed at end of September.

Not the only Garden City crash 

Gleason said UDOT began researching the area after the first semi-truck crashed in October of 2018.  That accident was fatal as the truck driver died at the same intersection.

In August of 2019, two separate semi’s crashed in the area in the same week. In the first, on the 15th,  a driver crashed into a storage facility. Then, five days later, a dump truck hauling asphalt lost control and damaged three more storage units.

In March of this year, another truck avoided hitting any structures because heavy snow slowed down the vehicle.

“Along with the emergency ramp, there is a brake check station at the top of the hill of US-89 leading into Garden City,” Gleason said.  UDOT also posted signs in the area urging all truck drivers to check their brakes before continuing down the hill.

“But,” Gleason said, “the most important thing to prevent further accidents is education.”

The driver from Tuesday’s crash was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.