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Interstate 80 In Utah

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on April 2, 2019.

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I-80 Construction History By Year

(Based on newspaper reports)


(East to West)

-- Wyoming Line to Castle Rock - (12.6 miles) Completed in July 1961; signs and guardrail work continued through 1964; final paving in July 1965

-- Castle Rock to Emory - (5.3 miles) Started in May 1970; completed in 1971 (two lanes); July 1973 (all lanes)

-- Emory to Echo Junction - (11 miles) Started in September 1964; completed in November 1967, with ribbon cutting by Governor Rampton

Wyoming Line to Echo

(paralleled by Union Pacific Railroad)

1967 -- Emory to Echo (awarded July 1964; began September 1964; completed November 1967)
1968 -- Wyoming Line to Castle Rock
1971 -- Castle Rock to Emory (awarded in May 1970)

Echo to Salt Lake City

1963 -- Wanship to Silver Creek (opened May 1963) (expanding U. S. 189 through Silver Creek canyon)
1969 -- Echo Junction (awarded January 1968; to be completed June 1969)
1970 -- Echo to Coalville (awarded November 1967; to be complete October 1969)
1971 -- Parleys Canyon; 5-1/2 miles (closed in July 1969; eastbound opened in July 1970; westbound opened July 1971)

Parleys Canyon closed for nine months, between October 1, 1969 and July 23, 1970. Construction was under way for almost two years; from July 1969 to July 1971. The remaining section of Interstate 80 between Mountain Dell Reservoir and Kimballs Junction in Parleys Park remained under different stages of construction throughout the years between 1971 and 1973, when it was finally completed.

Salt Lake City to Lake Point

(Based on internal UDOT document)
1963 -- Redwood Road To 900 West
1963 -- Lake Point Junction To Black Rock; Black Rock To Saltair
1966 -- Saltair (Bridge & Ramps)
1966 -- Lake Point Junction To Salt Lake County Line (SR 201 Interchange)
1966 -- I-80 To H2 Ramp
1969 -- Redwood Road Interchange
1970 -- North Temple & Airport Road
1975 -- I-80 & SR-201
1976 -- I-80 Over Access Road A
1976 -- SLG&W Railroad Structure
1977 -- Saltair To Airport (5600 West)
1977 -- 5600 West Structures
1978 -- 4800 West To Redwood Road
1979 -- Saltair To 6000 West
1983 -- Structures At Surplus Canal
1984 -- I-215 Ramps Over 1-80
1984 -- 4000 West Structures Over I-80 (Bangerter Hwy)
1984 -- 4800 West To Interchange (Redwood Road)
1985 -- Surplus Canal To Redwood Road
1985 -- Ramps Q-1, L, M and 4000 West Over SLG&W Railroad and Western Pacific Railroad (Bangerter Hwy)
1986 -- 4800 West C Ramp, Ramps L-1 & H Structures
1986 -- Redwood Road To North Temple
1986 -- 4000 West Interchange (Bangerter Hwy)

Lake Point to Nevada Line

(1964) -- Black Rock to Lake Point (awarded January 1964)
(1967) -- Nevada Line (Wendover) to Knolls (awarded mid 1967) ($9 million; most expensive up to that time)


June 1960
Although operations on Union Pacific's Park City Branch were not affected, in June 1960 the appearance of Silver Creek Canyon began to change, with the construction of an all-new alignment for Interstate 80 south of the tracks on previously untouched land. The existing U.S. Highway 189 on the north side had been built in the 1920s on the abandoned Utah Eastern alignment (abandoned in 1887), and remained in use. Two-way traffic was diverted to the new eastbound lanes upon completion in 1962, and the old U.S. 189 alignment was rebuilt to become the new westbound lanes. The entire project was completed in May 1963.

The bids for the Silver Creek Junction-to-Wanship section of Interstate 80, through Silver Creek Canyon, were opened on April 2, 1960. (Park Record, September 15, 1960)

May 1963
Interstate 80 was opened through Silver Creek Canyon, between Echo and Park City, replacing U. S. Route 189 along the same route.

Part of U. S. Route 189 takes it from Echo, Utah to Silver Creek Junction northeast of Park City on Interstate 80. U. S. 189 is paralleled along this stretch by Union Pacific's Park City Branch. At Silver Creek Junction, U. S. 189 meets U. S. Route 40 and continues south through Heber and into Provo Canyon.

The route of Union Pacific's Park City Branch took it through Silver Creek Canyon, west from Wanship to Snyderville Basin. Through the canyon, the Park City Branch split the eastbound and westbound lanes of today's Interstate 80. The route of Highway 189 through Silver Creek Canyon was originally that of the territorial toll road between Echo and Salt Lake City. (Additional research is needed to determine the relationship between the Park City Branch, the territorial toll road and the abandoned-in-1887 Utah Eastern alignment through Silver Creek Canyon.)

Although the railroad's operations were not affected, the appearance of Silver Creek Canyon began to change in June 1960 with the construction of an all-new alignment for Interstate 80 south of the tracks on previously untouched land. The existing U.S. Route 189 to the north had been built in the 1920s on the abandoned Utah Eastern alignment (abandoned in 1887), and remained in use. Two-way traffic was diverted to the new eastbound lanes upon completion in 1962, and the old U.S. 189 alignment was rebuilt to become the new westbound lanes. The entire project was completed in May 1963.

January 7, 1964
"Gibbon and Reed Co., Salt Lake City, submitted the apparent low bid of $1,194,286 for construction of a section of I-80 from Lakepoint to Black Rock in Salt Lake and Tooele counties. The engineer's estimate was $1,240,068." (Provo Daily Herald, January 8, 1964)

January 9, 1964
"To realize the 95% federal matching funds I-80 must be finished and paid for by 1972." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 9, 1964)

January 21, 1964
"The second contract calls for construction of nearly four miles of Interstate 80 in western Salt Lake County between Black Rock and Saltair. The apparent low bidder was the James Reed Construction Co., Salt Lake, with an offer of $1,527,977 compared with the estimate of $1,651,876." (Provo Daily Herald, January 22, 1964)

May 1967
Union Pacific and Western Pacific realigned their mainlines west of Salt Lake City to allow for the construction of Interstate 80.

WP and UP completed a line change to allow the construction of today's I-80, west of Salt Lake City. Included was a new line for WP from about 1000 West, paralleling UP's LA&SL line west to Gladiola Street, at about 3200 West. WP's mainline was abandoned upon completion of the line change, which included a new location called "WP-UP Junction" at about 1100 West. The original WP/LA&SL diamond crossing at Navajo Street was abandoned and the tracks between the new WP-UP Junction and Smelter, 15 miles to the west, were operated as joint trackage. (Track and Time, by Jeff Asay, page 94)

WP-UP Junction, a double crossover at about 1100 West, was added in 1967 to replace the "Navajo Street" diamond-crossing at about 1400 West. As noted above, Jeff Asay wrote that the change was to put the WP and UP(LA&SL) lines west from Salt Lake City, on a common alignment in preparation for what today is I-80, and the new superhighway's crossing over the two rail lines at Cheyenne Street (about 1550 West). With the common ownership of both UP and WP lines after the 1983 merger, the need went away to crossover to WP-owned tracks before the ownership changed at the Jordan River, and the double crossover was moved several miles west to Orange Street, about a mile west of Redwood Road.

(Google map showing the Orange Street crossing.)

The map shows that the abandoned WP route was used as the location for Interstate 80, including the later interchange between I-80 and the later I-215 Belt Route, completed in 1985-1986.

November 27, 1967
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held, with Governor Rampton in attendance, for the portion of Interstate 80, from Echo, eastward to Emory. Construction began in September 1964, and total cost was reported as $6 million, or $528,000 per mile for the 11.4-mile stretch of new super highway. (The Park Record, November 30, 1967)

March 23, 1968
Work began on the interchange of Interstate 80 and Interstate 80N at Echo Junction. The work was being done by Peter Kiewit Sons Construction, and included a new bridge for Union Pacific's Park City Branch. The work was 75 percent complete by mid August 1969. (Ogden Standard Examiner, August 10, 1969)

December 1969
The portion of I-80 between Echo Junction and Coalville (3.6 miles) was completed in December 1969. The portion of I-80N between Echo Junction and Henefer (3.3 miles), was completed in mid October 1970. The completion in December 1969 of the Echo-Coalville portion included the large interchange at Echo Junction (1.6 miles), and the new bridge for Union Pacific. The three projects were separate, and each with its own contract and construction company. (Park Record, December 25, 1969; Ogden Standard Examiner, December 29, 1969; October 29, 1970)

July 23, 1970
Only the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 through Parleys Canyon were officially reopened to traffic. The 5-1/2 mile section had been closed for two years. The westbound lanes were to be reopened by the end of the year. The main contractor, Gibbons & Reed, had started work in July 1969. (Park Record, April 16, 1970; July 16, 1970)