Roadwork ahead

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    By Robin Lamb

    Officials with the Utah Department of Transportation are advising motorists to pay attention to the posted work zone speed limits if they want to avoid double fines during construction on US-189 in Provo Canyon. The highway is undergoing heavy renovations to expand the road to two lanes on each side.

    Additional Utah Highway Patrol troopers have been patrolling the area because many drivers have been ignoring the posted reduced speed limits. Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson Geoff Dupaix said many motorists travel through the work zones at speeds approaching 70 mph when the posted limits are 40 mph.

    ?It creates a safety hazard for the workers as well as the other motorists,? Dupaix said.

    No accidents in the canyon project area have resulted in major injuries, but some equipment has been damaged by a few incidents, he said.

    The construction project was started earlier this year and completion is scheduled for the end of 2006.

    ?We are doing everything we can to ensure motorists can travel through the canyon as quickly as possible without taking the detour route,? Dupaix said.

    All safety precautions and the extra troopers are for the traveling public, he said. If the problems don?t subside, the canyon will have to be closed more extensively during construction hours.

    According to a UDOT news release, the Deer Creek Dam portion of the highway is already closed from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m. for excavation work. The available detour for motorists adds an additional 90 minutes onto their driving time, as they have to take I-15 to I-80 to get to areas on the other side of the dam.

    Steve Dowding, a worker on the canyon project, said he holds the caution signs to warn drivers of the reduced speeds but they don?t pay any attention to them. One weekday he said he saw a state trooper give out over 11 tickets before noon.

    Brent Troutner, a Provo City resident, said he didn?t notice the signs much when he recently drove through the canyon.

    ?I knew there was construction so I slowed down anyway,? Troutner said.

    He said he?s always careful to watch his speed in work zones so he doesn?t increase the danger to others by driving faster then needed or increase his risk of getting a ticket with a fine that?s doubled.

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