The road is in severe disrepair. [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

Locals know to look out for, and dodge, the numerous potholes on Kane Creek Boulevard: the road has deteriorated to such a degree that the city is planning a total reconstruction of the 0.8-mile section of the road from 500 W. to Highway 191. 

“It’s not just going to be a chip-seal or an overlay, it’s a total reconstruction,” said City Engineer Chuck Williams. “Everything will get picked up and then we’ll rebuild.” 

In addition to redoing the pavement, the reconstruction project will include creating improved storm drainage, replacing all sewer and water lines, reconstructing the sidewalks and curb ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, installing rectangular rapid-flashing beacons that will be pedestrian-activated, and adding green infrastructure features.

The project will include reconstructing the sidewalks, which have been impacted by tree roots. [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

Kane Creek Blvd. sees average daily traffic of around 5,011 vehicles, according to the city, and that number is “projected to increase with upcoming developments.” 

The city will hire a design engineer, Civil Science Inc., which estimated the project total to be $8,807,710. The city plans to apply for funds from the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board in March—the CIB is a statewide board that “provides loans and grants to counties, cities, and towns impacted by mineral resource development on federal lands,” meaning it gives back a portion of federal lease fees to impacted communities. The rest of the cost would be paid by the city. 

Councilmember Rani Derasary took issue with some of the city’s wording in its CIB funding application. Kane Creek Blvd. was referred to in the application as a “locals highway,” a term Derasary said she was uncomfortable with since the language sounded like Kane Creek Blvd. could be used similarly to a bypass. In 2021, the Grand County Commission voted to remove the consideration of creating a bypass on the west side of town from the regional transportation plan following pushback from residents who lived in the nearby neighborhoods. 

“I would personally be much more comfortable if that said, ‘it will ultimately enhance this corridor for residents and tourists,’” Derasary said. “I’m uncomfortable with implying that it will relieve congestion or create more options [for traveling south] … I don’t think it’s consistent with what the community has said about what they want to see on that road.”

City Manager Carly Castle said the intent of the project is not necessarily to create new traffic, it’s to make the road more functional—something that she, Williams, and Councilmember Jason Taylor commented is needed. 

“The road is in such bad shape, the only reason I use that road is when I’m taking my boat out to the river … it beats my truck to death,” Williams said. “When we repurpose that road, people will be able to drive it as an alternative—it’s not a bypass, it’s just another way to travel through town and avoid downtown.” 

Mayor Joette Langianese said she agreed with Derasary that the language should be modified: the intent is not to facilitate a bypass, Langianese said, it’s to “make Kane Creek a road we can all be proud of.” 

The council also voted on whether or not to approve a task order of $498,200 for the project, which will help it move forward; the motion to approve the task order passed unanimously.