In addition to a workshop on the Manti-La Sal Forest Plan and a lengthy discussion of the Rally on the Rocks event permit, the Grand County Commission voted on two letters to the Bureau of Land Management regarding the proposed Book Cliffs highway at their regular meeting on Oct. 6.

The letters discussed a proposed 35-mile paved highway through the Book Cliffs, connecting Interstate 70 to the Seep Ridge Road in Uintah County. The project is a reiteration of a concept that has long been opposed by Grand County residents; in 2019 it was brought back to the table by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC), which is comprised of Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, San Juan, Sevier, and Uintah counties. The proposal claims that all costs for construction and maintenance of the highway will be paid by the state and Grand County will not be responsible.

One letter from the county commission claims that the SCIC’s funding sources are questionable and that they’ve offered insufficient evidence that the state will fund the road. That letter was approved four to one, with Commissioner Curtis Wells in opposition; Commissioners Jaylyn Hawks and Rory Paxman were absent.

The chair’s signature on the second letter was ratified by the same vote split. It requests an opportunity for Grand County to provide input on the project and anticipates that the project will put more demands on the county’s infrastructure, road department and emergency services.