Dear Editor:

According to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), semi-trucks constitute 30 percent of traffic through Moab on U.S. Highway 191, and 30 percent is through-traffic. That’s 60 percent, and increasing every day. This makes negotiating through town difficult for both locals and tourists.

A possible bypass could be along the west side of town paralleling U.S. Highway 191 south. With limited land in the Moab valley, should we use it for a bypass? It is valued at only $100,000 per acre now, but going up fast. 200-feet of highway only takes an acre, but it would be worth it to have the big beautiful trucks echo off the cliffs, lulling us to sleep all night.

Don’t build another uranium tailings situation that will be obsolete in a few years. U.S. Highway 191 will be even busier in a few more years. Allowing a truck route anywhere through Moab will be a disaster, like the tailings pile, and hated by all of the present Moabites and the many hundreds of the new San Juan residents expected soon south of Moab. I am sure that the semi-trucks pulling the grade will keep us all awake at night. Their echoes off the cliffs south of Moab can already be heard and it will only get worse.

The other way for a bypass could save the limited land in the valley. I hope you won’t miss the diesel smoke and the trucks serenading you. Either way, it will take another bridge, but this way would be a permanent fix. Take the trucks and cars that don’t want to stop in Moab off U.S. Highway 191 onto the Potash Road, cross a bridge over the Colorado River at Kane Creek and continue along a new highway that will generally follow Kane Creek four or five miles to Trough Springs Canyon, leading to County Road 132, Hatch Point Road (Anticline Overlook Road) on top of the mesa. There are several washes that you can access to get on top of the flat mesa. I have walked through several of these. The first large wash, Trough Springs Canyon, is my recommendation for this bypass. The new road will connect to County Road 133, the Needles Overlook Road. This is part of the Canyon Rims Recreation Area, about 2,000 feet above the Colorado River.

There are lots of fantastic viewpoints for tourists to stop at that are within a short drive from this road: the Colorado River, Hurrah Pass, the Potash Mine, Canyonlands Viewpoint, the Needles Viewpoint, and also a large BLM campground with restroom facilities, and where the high elevation usually provides cool breezes. Trucks could whistle on down the bypass to join U.S. Highway 191, a short distance from Monticello. The whole scenic trip would be cherished by tourists and semi-truck drivers as well.

Lin Ottinger