UtahRails Highways

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on Decemver 21, 2023.


Railroads and roads developed side by side throughout Utah's history. Roads came first, in the form of trails used by travelers, the Pony Express and various stagecoach companies. Then came county roads, administered and maintained by local county governments. Many of the early pioneering railroads were built paralleling a selected county road through the populated areas of the territory, and later the state.

One of the first county roads was actually a toll road built by Parley Pratt through what soon became Parleys Canyon, east of Salt Lake City. When Utah Central was built in 1869, it paralleled the county road between Salt Lake City and Ogden through each of the intermediate cities and towns of Roy, Clearfield (Syracuse Junction), Layton, Kaysville, Farmington, and Bountiful.

The Utah State Road Commission was created on March 23,1909, in response to the "Good Roads" movement. The state legislature responded with passing House Bill No. 55, introduced on January 27, 1909, along with a associated series of bills (H.B. 56 through H.B. 60, collectively known as the "Good Road Bills") that would fund the new agency and establish the process for various counties to build and maintain good roads. The house bill was passed by the Senate on March 13th, and signed into law by Governor Spry on March 23rd. The state road commission was tasked to oversee and approve the counties in their creation of a series of maps designating important roads and trails. The commission would then obtain state-level funding and distribute the funds as needed for building and maintaining the roads designated by the county maps. During 1910, a total of 125.35 miles of state roads were completed, at a cost of $840 per mile.

"The purpose and intent of the state road commission is to build good roads as rapidly, as extensively and as economically as possible. It is the fixed purpose of the commission to remove as rapidly as possible the idea that the state roads in the several counties of the state are exclusively a local concern and to assert a new and better view that the state road in each county of the state is a state concern in which the whole state is interested in construction, maintenance and use." (Utah State Road Commission first annual report, January 11, 1911)

The first road map for public distribution was released in August 1926. There had been earlier maps, beginning in 1910, showing the roads throughout the state. But these were prepared specifically to accompany the road commission's annual report to the state legislature.

The duties and responsibilities of the state road commission were transferred to the Utah Department of Transportation on July 1, 1975. When the new department was created, it encompassed the state road commission, the state road department, and the two state agencies responsible for the safety of public and private aeronautical transportation.

By the 1920s, the state's railroad network was essentially finalized, with little growth afterward. But the network of roads and highways grew rapidly as public funds were used to expand the network and improve the roads themselves. Paving started in the 1920s for the major roads, and improvements came quickly as the federal Transportation Act of 1920 began being used to improve the roads across the nation. The Federal Highway System (later the National Highway System, or NHS) came into existence with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1925, as a response to the confusion created by the 250 or so named highways, such as the Lincoln Highway or the National Old Trails Highway.

(Read the Wikipedia article about U. S. Numbered Highways -- with separate entries for the larger U. S. Routes in the nation)

(Read the Wikipedia article listing each of the U. S. Numbered Highways)

(Read the Wikipedia article listing each of the Utah Numbered Highways)

As a result of this act of 1925, in 1926 a standardized numbering system was adopted, with several designated routes within Utah. These routes include U. S. routes 6, 40, and 50, traversing the state east to west, and U. S. routes 89 and 91 traversing the state north to south. There were several spurs in Utah of the larger national routes, including U. S. Route 189 which paralleled several railroad routes.

Highways At UtahRails

It's true that UtahRails.net is all about railroads, but putting railroads in context with their surroundings requires that one be aware of the roads and highways that usually parallel rail lines. My first research into roads and highways that were adjacent to Utah's railroad lines came in early 1983 as I was researching the history of railroads in Parleys Canyon, east of Salt Lake City. I was taking a cartography class at the University of Utah, as well as a Utah history class from Dean May. Professor May was working with the Sons of Utah Pioneers on a project and suggested a history of Parleys Canyon. Doing a project that embraced the concepts of both maps and history seemed like a good idea, so off I went to start the research.

Following Professor May's suggestion, I soon became deeply engrossed in the subject of the history of roads and highways when it came time to find out when U.S. Route 40 and Interstate 80 were completed through Parleys Canyon, east from Salt Lake to Park City and on to Echo and Echo canyon; it was a fascinating subject. The research paper that resulted was called "The Golden Pass," borrowing from the name that Parley Pratt used for his pioneering toll road through the canyon.

(Read "The Golden Pass," about the history of transportation in Parleys Canyon)

Separating the Roads and the Railroads

As soon as there were roads crossing railroad tracks, there were grade crossing accidents, with trains running into automobiles, or autos running into trains.

Between 1920 and 1945, the Utah Department of Highways received aid from the U. S. government under the Transportation Act of 1920 for the separation of highways and railroads.

These roads funded by funds from the federal government were known as Federal Aid Projects.

(Read more about the Federal Aid Projects in Utah)

Castle Gate Tunnel

The work of constructing the tunnel was begun in 1931, and it was removed during the reconstruction of the Castle Gate-Kyune road in 1964-1966.

The first highway (actually an improved dirt road) west from Price and Helper was the Midland Trail, completed in mid 1913. The route of the Midland Trail north and west of Price took it along side the D&RGW rail line to Helper and the Castle Gate rock formation. From there the road headed north and east along Willow Creek to Emma Park, then west and north to Kyune, another station of the D&RGW. Westward from Kyune, the railroad and road paralleled each other to Colton and over Soldier Summit, then down Soldier Creek to Thistle, where Soldier Creek was joined by Thistle Creek, and the two became the Spanish Fork River. Between Colton on the east side of the summit, and Tucker on the west side, the Midland Trail was built largely on the original 1882 railroad roadbed abandoned by D&RGW in 1912 when the new joint line of D&RGW and Utah Railway was completed. At the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, the railroad and road separated, with the railroad routed to Springville, and the Midland Trail routed to Spanish Fork. The road was "opened" in late July 1913, but improvements continued for several years, including widening, and the installation of bridges and culverts at strategic stream crossings.

June 2, 1913
Work on the Midland Trail west of Castle Gate started on Monday June 2, 1913. At the same time, other construction began across Emma Park to connect Kyune (Horse Creek) with Castle Gate by way of Willow Creek. (Carbon County News, June 5, 1913)

"In the early 1920s, the Midland Trail or the road from Spanish Fork to the Colorado line became part of the U.S. highway system. It became U.S. Highway 50. That designation by the United States Congress was more for political reasons, but in years to come would have a big effect on what happened with the road that ran through eastern Utah. During the time the report covered [1922-1932], little federal money was available for highway construction, even though the 1920s were a boom time in the United States. When the Depression hit in 1929, prospects for improving the road even looked worse." "During the 1920s, the only piece of road that had received concrete was a strip of the highway from Castle Gate up the canyon 2.18 miles to the old railroad stop of Rolapp. Other than that, all the projects had only been gravel." (Sun Advocate, February 5, 2002)

October 1929
The state highway between Colton and Kyune was relocated. The original route took the highway along the Price River, opposite of the D&RGW railroad tracks. The new route placed the highway on a new alignment across the ridge, in a direct straight line, and included at the eastern end, a high bridge across the river and railroad tracks. (Utah State Road Commission drawing Q145, dated October 9, 1929, "Alternate Routes, F. A. P. No. 95, Vicinity Of Colton")

February 12, 1931
"The new road will leave the pavement just south of the bridge over the Price River and cut through the mountain on the left bank of the river. At a point about 400 feet from the end of the pavement, it will be necessary to make a 350 foot tunnel through a rock ledge. The road will continue along the mountain side to the tipple of the Castle Gate mine number three." (News Advocate, February 12, 1931)

April 2, 1931
"The Utah Construction company was awarded the bid on the Castle Gate-to-Rolapp road project by the Utah State Road commission Friday." "The road will be 22 miles long..." (Castle Gate to Soldier Summit) "The tunnel which is to be hewed through the cliff about three hundred feet beyond the end of the concrete will be 22 feet in the clear and 14 high and the floor will be surfaced with Portland cement seven inches thick, according to announcement made at the office of the state road commission." (News Advocate, April 2, 1931)

June 1931
The three-mile section between Castle Gate and Rolapp was being worked on during June 1931. A 400-foot tunnel is being opened, and there was extremely heavy mountainside work being done. The new highway would eliminate two dangerous grade crossings over D&RGW and Utah Railway tracks between Castle Gate and Rolapp. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax magazine, Utah Railway parent USSR&M employee magazine, June 1931, page 21)

October 8, 1931
"Rolapp Cutoff To Open next Week; Job Complete -- New Thistle Project on U.S. 50 Opened October 1 -- The $180,000 Castle Gate Rolapp highway which has been under construction for the past several months will be open to travel October 15, it was announced this week at the local state road commission." "The project, which was built by the Utah Construction company, has been completed and the only delay at present is the time needed for the concrete in the tunnel to set. The entire crew has been moved off the job with the exception of a few men who are placing the protecting binder, or cable, along the edge of the road." (News Advocate, October 8, 1931)

September 3, 1960
The Utah Road Commission approved the route of a detour for U. S. Highway 50 and 6 to bypass the construction in Price Canyon. The route was from Castle Gate, eight miles along Willow Creek Canyon to the Bamberger monument, then eleven miles west across "Avintaquin" Park to Kyune. Surveyors were to begin work, with invitations to bid to follow after. The new road in Price Canyon would be safer for the 2400 cars that use it daily. (Deseret News, September 3, 1960)

May 22, 1961
A detour was to be constructed between Kyune and Castle Gate, by way of the old Park Road and Willow Creek Canyon, avoiding construction work in Price Canyon as that part of U. S. 50 and 6 is improved, as part of a multi-million dollar project. (Daily Herald, May 22, 1961)

November 14, 1961
The detour for U. S. 50 and 6 was to cost $480,000, but the U. S. Bureau of Roads informed state road engineers that the federal agency would not participate in funding of the detour because the design and specifications indicated that the detour would wear out before the new road in the canyon was completed. The dilemma was solved when the state agreed to cover the additional costs of maintaining the detour beyond its projected service life, if the new highway is not yet completed. Invitations to bid for the detour were to be let very soon. The cost to reconstruct the road in Price Canyon was projected as $5 million. (Deseret News, November 14, 1961)

October 23, 1964
Miss Carbon of 1964 set off demolition charges on the morning of Friday, October 23, 1964 to officially begin the construction of the $4.1 million reconstruction of U.S. 50 and 6 in Price Canyon. The ceremony took place at the old State Highway Patrol weigh station at New Peerless. Two contracts had been awarded to H. E. Lowdermilk Construction of Englewood, Colorado, one for $1.9 million and the other for $2.18 million, "to build the important 9.2 mile section through the canyon." (Deseret News, October 22, 1964)

One thing to consider as to why they removed the Castle Gate tunnel was that they knew the the new Denver-Los Angles "superhighway" (today's Interstate 70) was not going by way of Price Canyon, but the National Defense Highway standards still applied for U.S. highways, which says that a U.S. Army main battle tank, loaded on a transporter must be able to traverse the highway without obstruction. U.S. 50-6 was, and still is, the most direct way to get from Carbon County to the Wasatch Front. The National Defense Highway standards may not apply today, but they certainly did in the 1960s. The route for I-70 between Green River and Salina canyon had been selected as early as February 1961.

June 29, 1966
Traffic was allowed on the new Price Canyon highway in an unofficial opening. The highway was 92 percent complete, with a seal coat yet to be laid, along with striping, painting and placement of signs and guard rails. The cost was reported as $5 million, and construction time was shortened from five years to two years after highway funds were diverted from other projects. Barricades were removed, but the road was closed on occasion to allow completion of final projects. (Deseret News, June 29, 1966)

July 28, 1966 (Thursday)
"Dedication Rites Of Canyon Road Slated For July 28 -- The official dedication and opening of the new Price Canyon highway will be held on Thursday, July 28, according to a spokesman for the Price Chamber of Commerce. (Helper Journal, July 21, 1966)

"Highway Open In Canyon -- ... The mining camp of Royal was razed, one side of the natural formation of Castle Gate was blasted away and a 400-foot highway tunnel was blasted into a highway cut 280 feet deep through solid rock. ..." (Deseret News, July 29, 1966)

"Dedication Ceremony ... Under a blazing hot sun last Thursday, a crowd of approximately 300 witnessed the dedication of the new Price Canyon highway, the gateway from the north to southeastern Utah and the scenic splendors of the Canyonlands. ..." (Sun Advocate, August 4, 1966)

The new road in Price Canyon reduced travel time over the nine and a half mile segment from 20-25 minutes, down to just nine minutes. (Deseret News, July 29, 1966)

Two items from UtGenWeb article about the Castle Gate tunnel:

Formal Opening of Price Canyon Road... Henry C. Helland, state director of highways, noted with regret that the famed Castle Gate rock formation had to be altered to make way for a wider highway. He expressed the hope that new scenic vantage points opened and the tunnel cut would compensate for the altered Castle Gate. (Sun Advocate, no date)

Governor Rampton Heads Dignitaries ... This is the long-awaited Price Canyon highway - once referred to as the 'Rock of Gibraltar' by state officials and route opponents, and the third alignment since the original road was developed through this canyon - The Midland Trail - which was opened July 17, 1913. The old Midland Trail was replaced by the second alignment which was started in 1927 with completion of the Castle Gate tunnel portion in 1932. (Sun Advocate, no date)

Early Commercial Transportation

December 12, 1916
The Salt Lake Transportation Company was organized in Utah, as a holding company for three companies: Seeing Salt Lake City Company (started in 1900); Salt Lake Livery and Transfer Company (started in about 1875); and Utah Auto Livery and Taxicab Company (started in about 1911). The companies would retain their names and operational organizations. The president and general manager of the new company, Lawrence S. Mariger, had purchased the Salt Lake Livery company in 1914, and the Utah Auto Livery company in 1915. Mariger and his associates had started the Seeing Salt Lake City company in 1900. The Salt Lake Livery company had started its conversion to motor vehicles when Mariger and others had purchased the company in 1914, and its once large stables were now a modern garage. At the time of the consolidation, the combined companies owned 32 touring cars and limousines in taxicab service; 12 sightseeing cars; six hotel buses; ten baggage trucks; two ambulances; and four heavy trucks. Eight new limousines had been ordered, and were expected after the first of the year. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 12, 1916)

"The Salt Lake Transportation Company, now [1943] the oldest company of its kind in America, was organized in 1886, providing sightseeing tours with horse-drawn carriages and coaches for 7,600 men, women and children that year. In 1898, the first organized lecture sightseeing tours were introduced with trolley ears providing the transportation. The first motor buses were inaugurated in 1908 and taxicab service in 1911. In 1914 the first motor school bus west of the Mississippi river was put into operation by the Salt Lake Transportation Company." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 23, 1943, advertisement)

Emory U. S. 30S Overpass

The overpass at Emory on today's Echo Canyon Road (formerly U. S. 30S) was completed in late 1953 or early 1954, making the current bridge about 65 years old. Newspaper items only cover notices of road budget plans, or contract award, not completion dates. The project was planned as early as January 1951, and the contract for the Emory overpass was awarded in May 1952. At the same time, in December 1951 the state road commission announced a budget plan for "straightening" of U.S. 30S between Echo and Emory, for probable contract award during 1952. Another budget plan was announced in March 1953 for the "straightening" of U. S. 30S between Emory and Castle Rock. Looking at aerial photos from 1963, this last project removed the road from between the two UP mainlines, eliminating two narrow underpasses, and put it over on the south side, where I-80 was built in in 1968-1970. This new alignment of U. S. 30S became the alignment for I-80. This was done in several locations across Utah, with half of an Interstate being built on the existing U. S. highway, and the other half being built to one side or the other, making a full four-lane interstate.

January 7, 1951
Utah state road commission announced a $280,000 project to build a new concrete and steel overpass at Emory to take U. S. 30S over the Union Pacific tracks. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 7, 1951).

December 20, 1951
Utah state road commission announced a $450,000 project to straighten a "dangerous six-mile stretch of U. S. 30 between Echo and Emory in Summit County." (Provo Daily Herald, December 20, 1951; Ogden Standard Examiner, December 20, 1951)

May 7, 1952
A contract for the new overpass at Emory for U. S. 30S was awarded to Hilton and Carr, of Ogden, whose winning low bid was $334,611, compared to the state engineer's estimate of $385,035. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1952)

March 16, 1953
Utah state road commission announced an $800,000 project to relocate an eight-mile stretch of U. S. 30S between Emory and Castle Rock. (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 16, 1953)

U. S. 30S was realigned between Echo and Emory, and between Emory and Castle Rock. The Emory to Castle Rock segment was moved to a new location south of the Union Pacific tracks, and included a new concrete and steel overpass over both tracks of Union Pacific's double-track mainline.

A aerial photo dated September 11, 1953 shows the new overpass at Emory under construction, but no construction activity on the new segment between Emory and Castle Rock.

Interstate 80 between Echo and Emory, and between Emory and Castle Rock was to be started in fiscal year 1965. (Ogden Standard Examiner, June 18, 1964)

Fourteen percent of the 11.6-mile segment between Echo and Emory had been completed by late April 1965, with the projected cost being $5 million. (American Fork Citizen, April 29, 1965)

The Emory to Castle Rock segment, at $3.1 million, was to begin in 1969. (Ogden Standard Examiner, August 13, 1968)

Golden Pass

The road east of Salt Lake City, by way of Parleys Canyon, originated as a toll road built by Parley P. Pratt. He called it the "Golden Pass."

(Read "The Golden Pass," about the history of transportation in Parleys Canyon)

Highway 189

(Read about the history of U. S. Highway 189; including its route through Silver Creek Canyon between Wanship and Snyderville Basin.)

Highway 30S

(Read more about U. S. Highway 30S through Echo and Weber canyons, and the U. S. 530 branch from Echo to Kimballs' Junction)

Highway 91

U. S. Highway 91 runs the length of Utah, from the southwest corner, northward to the north end of Cache Valley on the northern border. The route of U. S. 91 was generally followed when Interstate 15 was completed through Utah in the 1960s and 1970s.

(Research is ongoing; more will be added as the need arises.)

During the late 1940s, U. S. 91 between Salt Lake City and Ogden was the most traveled stretch of intercity highway in Utah. This highway between Salt Lake City and Ogden was part of the combined U. S. 89 and U. S. 91, which extended from Levan on the south in Juab County, northward to North Farmington. The two routes were combined again north of Ogden, between Hot Springs and Brigham City.

During 1947 the portion of U. S. 89/91 through Davis County alone accounted for 11 of the 29 traffic deaths for the state. This Davis County portion, the so-called "Death Strip," was from a place called Parkin, on the south, to North Farmington, where U. S. 89 and 91 split, with U. S. 89 heading due north, and U. S. 91 heading northwest to Kaysville. Parkin at the south end, was just south of where the road passed under the Bamberger railroad's tracks (at about 2000 South in today's Bountiful), and was where the two highways split to become U. S. 91 (5th West in Bountiful), and U. S. 89 (Bountiful's Main Street). The two routes joined again in Farmington, and split at North Farmington.

Bountiful to Farmington -- Planning to improve U. S. 91 through Davis County began during 1947, and the project became the top priority with the grisly death of a young woman in December 1947. Land purchases to widen to highway between Parkin and North Farmington from two lanes to four lanes began during the first week of January 1948. Work began in early June and the entire project, Parkin (West Bountiful) to North Farmington, was to be completed by July 1949, but was not actually completed until October 1949. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 3, 1948; June 13, 1948; July 16, 1948; Layton Journal, September 22, 1949)

Farmington to Layton -- Construction of the portion of U. S. 91 from North Farmington to Layton was to be a new and separate project that was to include four lanes of divided highway with a 30-foot meridian. Planning started in late 1949 and work was planned to begin in 1951. With construction planned for late summer 1951, the new stretch of U. S. 91 from Farmington to Layton was to parallel the Union Pacific tracks almost its entire distance, and would include a new interchange at 2nd North in Kaysville. Construction started in January 1952 and at Farmington work began in March 1952 with an overpass for a junction between the new section, and the existing section that continued north. Additional contracts were to be awarded within a month. What the newspapers called the "Farmington Cutoff" was opened for traffic on October 31, 1953, although there was still work to be done, such as adding guard rails. (Layton Journal, September 22, 1949; Deseret News, August 12, 1951; March 4, 1952; January 26, 1953; October 9, 1953)

Interstate Highways In Utah

Interstate 15

(Read more about the construction of I-15 in Utah)

Interstate 70

(Read more about the construction of I-70 in Utah)

Interstate 80

(Read more about the construction of I-80 in Utah)

Interstate 80N (I-84)

(Read more about the construction of I-80N in Utah)

Ogden's 24th Street Viaduct

(Read more about Ogden's 24th Street viaduct)

Parleys Canyon

The road east of Salt Lake City, by way of Parleys Canyon, originated as a toll road built by Parley P. Pratt. He called it the "Golden Pass."

(Read "The Golden Pass," about the history of transportation in Parleys Canyon)


Provo Center Street

August 1936
The "West Center Street Viaduct" was planned as early as August 1936, with a planned cost of $165,000, all from the federal Works Progress Administration. The Provo City Council approved the planned viaduct on August 11th. The bridge was to be 24 feet wide and 1446 long, 30 feet high at its highest point, with five-foot sidewalks on each side. The approaches would be at a seven-percent grade. (Provo Daily Herald, August 11, 1936; August 19, 1936)

September 4, 1936
The State Road Commission began advertising for bids from contractors, with an award date set for September 21st. The viaduct has federal Works Program Grade Crossing Project No. WPGC-203, "Provo West Center Street." The contract was awarded to L. A. Young Construction of Richfield, and was to be completed within 250 days. The stucture was to have 15 open spans, covering a total of 856 feet. (Provo Daily Herald, September 4, 1936; September 21, 1936)

January 1937
Provo Center Street overhead crossing of UP and D&RGW tracks was approved by the State Public Service Commission, with 100% federal funding.

October 11, 1937
The Provo Center Street viaduct opened for traffic, one year after construction began. (Provo Daily Herald, October 11, 1937, "today")

The Provo Center Street viaduct was replaced in 2010-2014 as part of a new interchange for Interstate 15 at the same time.

Provo University Avenue

July 1965 -- The University Avenue viaduct crossing over the D&RGW and Union Pacific tracks was under construction.

Riverdale Viaduct

Riverdale Road overhead crossing of UP tracks.  First proposed in 1919.  Federal funding became available in 1920, construction completed in 1924.  Located in Ogden, Weber County.

September 30, 1919
The following comes from the September 30, 1919 issue of the Ogden Daily Standard newspaper:

The railroad crossing on the Riverdale road is regarded as one of the most dangerous in the entire state and several people have lost their lives there. A new viaduct, which will be built at a cost of approximately $60,000, will do away with the dangerous curve which has also cost several lives.

The bridge which will be built over the river will cost about $70,000 and will be of concrete. An expenditure of $30,000 will be spent on the roadbed.

Officials of the Union Pacific system will be in Ogden Saturday at which time the proposed viaduct will be considered. The state road commission has authorized the building of the bridge and with the final action of the railroad officials, it is expected that work will be started.

In 1921 the State Road Commission received Utah Public Service Commission approval to construct the viaduct for Riverdale Road over the south end of UP's Riverdale Yard in Ogden.  First proposed in May 1919 with the costs being equally shared by the state and the railroad.  In April 1920 the federal government was asked to assist in the construction.  The federal government requested a 20 foot roadway, instead of an 18 foot roadway, and a 5 foot sidewalk, instead of a 4 foot sidewalk.  Construction was delayed throughout 1921 and 1922.  The bridge was finally completed in 1924.  (Utah Public Service Commission Case 515)

Throughout 1921 through 1923, in newspaper news items and opinion pieces, the Ogden Chamber of Commerce regularly urged the railroad and local and state regulators to approve the needed viaduct.

Contractor bids were opened on November 13, 1923, and the contract was awarded to Union Construction of Ogden on November 14, 1923. Work was to begin immediately. The federal government was to pay 74 percent, outside of the portion paid by Union Pacific Railroad. (Ogden Standard Examiner, October 29, 1923; November 14, 1923)

The original steel viaduct was completed and opened for traffic on Saturday October 11, 1924. Work had started in November 1923. Total cost was reported as $173,000. (Ogden Standard Examiner, October 11, 1924)

May 5, 1946
Bids were opened for a new four-lane Riverdale viaduct. (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 5, 1946)

Work on the new four-lane all-concrete viaduct began in July 1946. (Ogden Standard Examiner, July 2, 1946)

Photos of the partially completed four-lane Riverdale viaduct were published in the November 16, 1946 issue of the Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper. The photos show that the new viaduct was built adjacent to, and just south of the existing steel two-lane viaduct and bridge.

The new four-lane Riverdale Road viaduct was completed in September 1947, with the two outside lanes opening the first week of September. (Ogden Standard Examiner, August 25, 1947)

February 8, 1996
"Proposed replacement and widening of Weber River Bridge and Union Pacific Railroad Viaduct located on State Route 26 (Riverdale Road) in Riverdale City, Weber County, Utah, Project STP-BRF-0026 (2)2"

The replacement viaduct was apparently completed in 1999.

Salt Lake City Viaducts

Beck Street Overpass

March 30, 1950
A public meeting was held to gather input for the new expressway to be built along Salt Lake City's west side. The general route, extending from U. S. 91 at the Salt Lake-Davis county line, crossing the railroad tracks at Beck's Hot Springs, then progressing southward to connect with an extension of 8th West at about 9th North. In the future the route would extend along 6th West to about 13th South, then along 4th West, had already been approved by the State Road Commission and the federal Bureau of Public Roads. The viaduct crossing the railroad tracks at Beck's Hot Springs would at first be two lanes, but would be expanded to be four lanes in the near future. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 22, 1950; Salt Lake Tribune, May 27, 1950, construction to begin in summer 1951)

March 23, 1952
The Utah Public Service Commission held a public hearing on the construction of a new overpass viaduct to carry U. S. 91 Alternate from a connection with U. S. 91 near Beck's Hot Springs, across and over the railroad tracks, to connect with an extension of 8th West. The new route was to serve as a truck route, moving truck traffic away from downtown streets, to Salt Lake City's west side. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1952)

July 23, 1952
The three railroads (UP, D&RGW, Bamberger) were ordered by the Utah Public Service Commission to together contribute 10 percent of the cost of the new Beck Street viaduct. When first proposed, the railroads protested the need for the overhead crossing, saying such a crossing was not needed at that location. The state highway department then moved the proposed crossing northward 200 feet and stated that the new overhead crossing was needed to replace the existing level grade crossing that provided access to Beck's Hot Springs. With the new location meant to replace an existing crossing, instead of being an all-new crossing, the railroads were required to participate in the cost of building the new crossing. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 23, 1952)

June 20, 1953
Construction of the Beck Street overpass, and its approaches, began in late June 1953, when the contract for the construction of the fills for the approaches was awarded to W. W. Clyde of Springville. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 20, 1953)

June 16, 1954
Gibbons & Reed was awarded a contract to widen Beck Street from Victory Road, north to the connection with the new viaduct at Beck's Hot Springs. (Deseret News, June 16, 1954)

July 28, 1954
W. W. Clyde was awarded a contract to build a concrete and steel viaduct across the railroad tracks at Beck's Hot Springs. The approaches had been settling for over a year, and work on the bridge itself could begin. The bridge would be 813 feet in length, spanning the new southbound lanes of U. S. 91, the Bamberger tracks, the Union Pacific tracks and the Denver & Rio Grande Western tracks. Actual construction began with the closing of existing grade crossings at Becks on September 5th. (Deseret News, July 28, 1954; Salt Lake Tribune, September 5, 1954)

February 11, 1955
The steel beams for the Beck Street overpass were placed on the new bridge supports. The bridge was completed in early June 1955, but the road itself would not be ready for traffic until fall 1956. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1955, with photo; Ogden Standard Examiner, July 27, 1955, with photo)

October 18, 1956
The new Beck Street overpass, and the six miles of two-lane highway between Beck's Hot Springs and the intersection of 8th West and 9th North, opened on October 20, 1956, "this weekend." The bridge was just two lanes wide. Work began immediately on the second two-lane bridge, to the north, to carry the southbound lanes of traffic. (An aerial photo dated May 27, 1958 shows the added lanes, but without cars or completed approaches.) (Deseret News, October 18, 1956; Salt Lake Tribune, October 19, 1956)

Fourth South

January 24, 1914
The Fourth South viaduct in Salt Lake City was completed and opened for traffic crossing over D&RG's yard tracks in that part of the city. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 24, 1914)

(Read more about the Fourth South viaduct of 1914)

September 1, 1971
The new 4th South viaduct opened in Salt Lake City. The street was closed in August 1970 and construction of the new viaduct started. Formal dedication was on September 21st. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 11, 1971; August 31, 1971)

North Temple

Salt Lake City's North Temple viaduct was built in 1907, and ended at its east end at 400 (3rd) West. The Salt Lake & Ogden (Bamberger) tracks were in place along 400 (3rd) West from late 1891. The viaduct originally had street car tracks. The street car tracks were removed in 1940 (Routes 18 and 19) and the viaduct was changed to all-auto traffic. The viaduct was replaced in 1971 by the one that had a separate ramp that dropped down to 400 West, but the new viaduct itself ended at 300 (2nd) West.. The visduct built in 1971 was demolished in April 2010 and the present viaduct, with UTA's Airport Line, was completed in November 2012. Here is a photo of the original viaduct under construction in late 1906.

September 14, 1905
The Salt Lake City Council passed an ordinance to allow OSL to build a viaduct carrying North Temple street over the OSL tracks in Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Herald, September 15, 1905, "last night")

June 18, 1906
OSL approved the project to build a viaduct carrying North Temple street over the OSL tracks in Salt Lake City, at the same time that the new Salt Lake City Joint Freight House was approved, also on June 18, 1906. (OSL Form 12, Authority for Expenditure; research completed May 4, 1995, at Union Pacific Museum, Omaha)

July 14, 1906
Work commenced on the construction of the North Temple viaduct. The costs were being covered by Union Pacific and its Oregon Short Line subsidiary. Piling for the foundations have already been driven, with that part of the job completed on July 13th. (Salt Lake Herald, July 14, 1906; Salt Lake Telegram, July 14, 1906)

December 5, 1906
The structure of the North Temple viaduct had been completed. Work was still needed to lay the floor, lay the street cars rails, and string the overhead wires for the street cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 5, 1906)

UP and OSL had commenced on an extensive modernization program for Salt Lake City. The improvements included a new passenger depot, a new freight depot, new joint yards and engine facilities with SPLA&SL, and a new viaduct allowing North Temple street to pass over the planned expanded yards and freight depot below. The first improvement that needed completion was the North Temple viaduct, because while street was closed to build the viaduct, all traffic was diverted along South Temple street, which needed to be vacated and abandoned as a street to allow construction of the new passenger depot. The new freight depot was on First South and work at its south end began at the same time as the viaduct. The total cost of the improvements was reported as $1,339,300, plus another $500,000 for the new passenger depot, and another $300,000 for the land under the new depot. The cost of the North Temple viaduct was reported as $68,700. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 24, 1906)

January 13, 1907
OSL began construction of the North Temple viaduct in early 1906, at the same time as the new freight station. The new freight station was complete by January 1907 and ready for occupancy. No mention of progress on the passenger depot. (Salt Lake Herald, January 13, 1907, with photos)

April 10, 1907
The street cars of Utah Light & Railway began using the North Temple viaduct on Wednesday April 10, 1907. (Deseret News, April 8, 1907, "next Wednesday"; Salt Lake Herald Republican, April 12, 1907, "viaduct is complete")

September 1933
The North Temple viaduct was strengthened to bring it up to current federal safety standards. The work would include adding 70 tons of steel, with a general reconditioning of the bridge. The work was reported as costing about $40,000. The project was part of the general improvement of North Temple street between Third West and Ninth West, and new paving westward to the airport. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 13, 1933)

December 18, 1971
The new North Temple viaduct in Salt Lake City was projected to be completed by June 1972, with "construction of the new viaduct and demolition of the old one progressing ahead of schedule despite wintry weather." (Deseret News, December 18, 1971)

Stillman Memorial Bridge

The Charles Stillman Memorial Bridge was erected across the mouth of Parley's Canyon, allowing access across the canyon, between Foothill Boulevard (and the highway to Park City), and Wasatch Boulevard serving the southeast population of the valley.

Wasatch Boulevard was built under the direction of Charles Stillman during his administration as Salt Lake County Commissioner of roads and bridges from 1918-1922.

The following is on a plaque on the north balcony of Sons of Utah Pioneers headquarters, and was dedicated on June 12, 1987. The display includes the original bronze plaque removed from the original bridge when it was demolished.

The Stillman Bridge spanned the Parley's gully tying the Wasatch Boulevard to the Parley's Canyon Road. This bridge was named after Charlie Stillman and was erected in 1938. The Stillman Bridge stood in operation until the new four lane highway was built through Parley's Canyon. This bridge was removed September 24, 1964 to make way for the new modern overpass that could handle the increased traffic entering and exiting Parley's Canyon.

The original bronze plaque reads: "Charlie Stillman Bridge Erected 1938 Henry H. Blood, Governor. Utah State Road Commission U.S. Bureau of Public Roads"

November 13, 1919
"School children of Salt Lake will be allowed to contribute money toward the construction of a memorial bridge across Parley's canyon in honor of the soldiers, sailors and marines of the country who served in the world war." "C. F. Stillman, chairman of the board of county commissioners, appeared before the principals of the city schools and explained the conditions under which school children may contribute toward the coast of the bridge." "The bridge will form a link in the boulevard system north and south of the canyon." (Salt Lake Telegram, November 13, 1919)

November 21, 1919
As early as November 1919, the design of the bridge was to be reinforced concrete, but the plans had not yet been completed or approved. Chairman Stillman announced on November 20th that local engineers and contractors should submit by November 28, 1919, their preliminary plans and specifications for a reinforced concrete bridge, and after whatever design was accepted, submit complete plans and specifications of the proposed bridge across Parley's canyon. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 21, 1919)

January 9, 1920
Chairman Stillman submitted a pencil sketch of the proposed bridge to a memorial committee organized for the purpose of approving the bridge design. The bridge was to be, at 150 feet, the longest concrete arch bridge in the world. (Salt Lake Herald, January 9, 1920)

April 7, 1936
Wasatch Boulevard south of Parley's canyon had been completed, at a cost by of $40,368 from the U. S. government, and $4,677 from Salt Lake County. This completion would then allow the bridge across Parley's canyon to be started. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 7, 1936)

February 10, 1937
With the completion of Wasatch Boulevard to 33rd South street, all that remained was to connect the new road with Foothill Boulevard, which was also U. S. 40 from Salt Lake City and points east. Designs and plans for the new bridge had been completed, with an estimated cost of $60,000. Included was a connector road from 33rd South street, north to the bridge, and a direct connection with U. S. 40. The bridge's roadway was to be 55 feet from the bottom of the canyon, and would be 207 feet long. The approach spans would be 58 feet long, and the main reinforced concrete arch would be 75 feet long. It would span the railroad tracks and creek below. The road would be 30 feet wide, with a sidewalk 5 feet wide. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1937; Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 29, 1937)

June 29, 1937
The contract for the Parley's canyon bridge connecting U. S. 40 with Wasatch Boulevard, was awarded to Reynolds-Ely Construction of Springville. The bid was $57,772. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 29, 1937)

September 23, 1937
State Road Commission received Utah PSC approval to construct a concrete overpass bridge for Wasatch Boulevard over the tracks of D&RGW, at the mouth of Parleys Canyon, to connect with U. S. Highway 40. Later called the Stillman Bridge. Works Program Project No. WPSO 197-B, "Parley's Canyon Bridge". (Utah PSC #1933)

A search of online newspapers does not find a completion date for the bridge. The contract was awarded in June 1937.

December 18, 1937
When completed, the bridge was known as the Parley's Canyon Bridge. In a meeting of the Sugar House Rotary Club, a motion was passed to seek the renaming of the bridge to honor Charles Stillman, former Salt Lake County Commissioner. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 18, 1937)

(View a June 1938 photo of the Stillman Memorial Bridge)

(View a color postcard of the Stillman Memorial Bridge)

March 20, 1955
Improvement of Wasatch Boulevard at Parleys Canyon was first proposed. The project would include a fill across the mouth of the canyon, bypassing the use of the Stillman bridge, saving motorists about three miles traveling distance, connecting Wasatch Boulevard on the south, with Parleys Way (21st South) and Foothill Boulevard on the north. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 20, 1955)

October 3, 1955
The road in Parleys Canyon was closed east of the Stillman bridge, to allow U. S. 40 to be widened in the canyon from two lanes to four lanes. All traffic eastward was diverted to Emigration Canyon, with the detour rejoining U. S. 40 above Mountain Dell reservoir. Heavier trucks and buses were forced to use Weber Canyon or Provo Canyon.

January 4, 1956
D&RGW operated the last train to the lime rock cement quarry in Parleys Canyon on the old Park City Branch, on Wednesday January 4th. The quarry was owned by Utah Portland Cement, and the rock was hauled by D&RGW to the company's cement plant on Ninth (900) South. The end of operations was on a three-mile segment of the branch and was needed to support the beginning of construction of a new highway in the canyon. The branch was to have a new end-of-track at Alexander, west of the site of the new highway fill. Almost immediately after the last train, Utah Department of Transportation contractors bulldozed 18 feet of fill dirt over the tracks as part of the new highway construction that would connect Wasatch Boulevard with Foothill Boulevard. (Deseret News, January 5, 1956, with photo)

November 15, 1956
The new connection between Wasatch Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard, across the mouth of Parleys Canyon was officially opened to the public on November 15, 1956. In late September the fill and highway had been sufficiently completed, minus lines, striping and guard rails, that the public was asked to stay off the newly completed road until all safety features had been completed. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 26, 1956; November 14, 1956)

The Stillman bridge remained in place as a connection for travelers to and from the southeast part of Salt Lake County, connecting Wasatch Boulevard with eastbound U. S. 40.

The construction of Interstate 80 at the mouth of the canyon in the early 1960s brought additional highway changes, including a better connection for wasatch Boulevard and the removal of the Stillman bridge.

August 6, 1963
Bids for the demolition of the Stillman bridge were to be submitted by August 6, 1963. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 6, 1963)

The road between Wasatch Boulevard at 33rd South, and the Stillman bridge was closed in October 1963, in preparation for the bridge's removal.

The Stillman memorial bridge was demolished in December 1963, to make way for the new Interstate 80, and Belt Route 415. The bridge's construction was so stout, that the demolition took at least three separate attempts with explosives to bring the bridge down. The first attempt was on Friday November 23, 1963; the second was on Tuesday December 3, 1963.

Timeline of Highway Projects

(selected projects only, as information becomes available)

December 1849
Parley Pratt opened his "Golden Pass" toll road in Big Kanyon Creek Kanyon (later Parleys Canyon). This was the first improved road in Utah intended for public use.

(Read "The Golden Pass," about the history of transportation in Parleys Canyon)

January 7, 1951
Utah state road commission announced a $280,000 project to build a new concrete and steel overpass at Emory to take U. S. 30S over the Union Pacific tracks. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 7, 1951).

December 20, 1951
Utah state road commission announced a $450,000 project to straighten a "dangerous six-mile stretch of U. S. 30 between Echo and Emory in Summit County." (Provo Daily Herald, December 20, 1951; Ogden Standard Examiner, December 20, 1951)

May 7, 1952
A contract for the new overpass at Emory for U. S. 30S was awarded to Hilton and Carr, of Ogden, whose winning low bid was $334,611, compared to the state engineer's estimate of $385,035. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1952)

October 1, 1952
In Salt Lake City, a new road was completed, connecting Foothill Boulevard at Sunnyside Avenue, with 13th East at 5th South. The new road connected with 5th South at 13th East, eastward to Guardsman Way, continuing on a curving alignment across the Fort Douglas reservation and avoiding the soon-to-be completed Veterans Hospital, then southeast to connect with the existing Foothill Boulevard at Sunnyside Avenue (9th South). Work had started in November 1951, and the new Foothill Boulevard was completed and opened for public use on October 1, 1952. It was designated as Alternate U. S. 40, later changed to State Route 186. (Salt Lake Telegram, November 19, 1951; August 29, 1952)

March 16, 1953
Utah state road commission announced an $800,000 project to relocate an eight-mile stretch of U. S. 30S between Emory and Castle Rock. (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 16, 1953)

U. S. 30S was realigned between Echo and Emory, and between Emory and Castle Rock. The Emory to Castle Rock segment was moved to a new location south of the Union Pacific tracks, and included a new concrete and steel overpass over both tracks of Union Pacific's double-track mainline.

January 19, 1962
The former Bamberger bridge over U. S. 89 at Cherry Hill was demolished in mid January 1962 to allow widening of U. S. 89. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 19, 1962)

October 2, 1964
The Bamberger crossing of U. S. highway 89 in south Bountiful was completed in July 1935, and Bamberger continued to use it until the railroad was abandoned in in late December 1958. Plans were presented to convert the right-of-way and the bridge to highway use in November 1960, and after the approval process was completed, construction began in April 1964, with completion in mid October 1964. (Davis County Clipper, November 11, 1960; April 3, 1964; October 2, 1964)

November 2009
The Pleasant Grove grade separation underpass for State Street to pass under the Union Pacific tracks (known as UDOT structure C-149), was closed in October 2008. Over the next 11 months, Utah Department of Transportation spent $20 million to completely replace the underpass with a new alignment for State Street, which included a new overpass for the railroad tracks. The new overpass was opened for traffic on November 9, 2009. (Deseret News, November 14, 2009) Planning started in February 2004. (Deseret News, February 20, 2004) The original underpass was built in 1937.

Victory Road

(Numerous references to "Victory Road" in the 1924-1925 time period refer to the Utah portion of the "Victory Highway" west from Salt Lake City as part of the larger national transcontinental highway.)

Victory Road runs northwest from the intersection of Columbus Street and Zane Avenue at the top of capitol hill. Today there is a newly placed traffic signal at this intersection. Motorists access the south end of Victory Road by way of Columbus Street, which runs along the west side of the capitol grounds and connects with Main Street at Second North (today 300 North).

There was an earlier Victory Road in the mid 1925 time period, in the vicinity of Girard Avenue, Zane Avenue, and West Capitol Street. As late as 1931, there were safety concerns and a need for guard rails on Victory Road near 4th (500) North. This "Victory Road" later became today's Wall Street.

Victory Road was proposed as early as 1932. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 4, 1932)

June 26, 1933
Construction of the new Victory Road was awaiting right-of way agreements over federal land, and transfer to the city of property taken by the county due to unpaid taxes. The new road was be built from Ninth (1000) North and Beck Street, east of Wasatch Springs and Warm Springs Park, to the north side of the state capital. (Salt Lake Telegram, June 26, 1933)

September 23, 1933
Salt Lake City received $3 million for 80 public works projects, as part of Utah's $5 million portion of a federal public works bill. Among the 80 projects was the new Victory Road from Fourth (500) North to Ninth (1000) North. (Salt Lake Telegram, September 23, 1933)

The new Victory Road was completed by April 1936, and is shown in a 1937 aerial photo. An aerial photo from 1946 shows that the Beck Street intersection had been reconfigured for additional safety.

(Research in online newspapers of the 1935-1938 period did not discover any reference to the opening of Victory Road to the traveling public, which seems a bit strange due to the road immediately becoming a major thoroughfare northward from Salt Lake City. There were numerous reports in the 1937-1938 period of traffic tickets being issued to drivers running the stop sign at the base of Victory Road at its intersection with Beck Street.)

More Information

Street Numbering in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County -- Information about the street numbering system used by Salt Lake County.

The Golden Pass -- A History of Transportation in Parleys Canyon, Utah.