The Uintah Transportation Special Service District is hard at work on many active projects. The District also has responsibility for the Vernal Regional Airport, as well as road maintenance in unincorporated Uintah County. Below is a list of current and future projects.
Book Cliffs Transportation Corridor Study: The Uintah Transportation Special Services District has completed the transportation corridor economic study for Book Cliffs. The study narrowed in on the East Canyon and Hay Canyon corridors, with a focus on tourism and economic impacts. Both alignments traverse through Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) properties.
The study determined that the new path would save motorists approximately 40 minutes and save energy production truck-traffic approximately two hours. Some of the development will be beneficial for energy, but the study also showed a large majority of the benefit will be in tourism.
Funding is being sought by various sources for an environmental study to meet the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
- Countywide Asphalt Management Project: Each year, the Uintah Transportation Special Services District has an annual asphalt management program. This program repairs the asphalt and seals the cracks in the roadways.
- Leland Bench Road: This new 7.5-mile road will connect the Fort Duchesne area to Duchesne County. The road, also known as Woods Road, is planned to be paved to handle large trucks. The engineering contract was approved and is underway.
- Red Wash Road: Red Wash Road construction is underway. Funding for this project comes through the Joint Highways Committee Non-Urban Funds program.
Vernal Regional Airport: The Uintah Transportation Special Services District (UTSSD) officially took ownership of managing the Vernal Municipal Airport, located in Vernal, Utah, in January 2016. The airport is owned and operated by Vernal City and Uintah County.
The first runway was constructed in 1943 and currently has one operating airline, Boutique Air, which offers daily flights with competitive airfares to Denver and Salt Lake City.
Currently, the Airport’s main runway is being relocated and reconstructed just west of its current location by GDA Engineers, and a new parallel taxiway is being construction to better facilitate air traffic at the airport. A significant portion of the airport’s second runway will also be reconstructed as part of this project.Â A new terminal building also began construction in fall of 2015. The project will be constructed in three phases over three to four years, with total funding over $28 million.
The Airport is undergoing renovation. The renovation project is set up so that if extra funds become available from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the UTSSD could put those funds towards airport upgrades. Renovations underway include:
Runway: The first priority is the runway and taxiway. The design is complete and the construction bids are in. The District has put a 120-day bid hold on the construction of the taxiway to allow FAA to pursue additional funding.
Terminal Building: Uintah County will pay for a remodel to the existing building with the hope that the FAA will approve a new building around 2021; renovations would include carpet, roofing and furniture.
Earthwork and Drainage: The earthwork and drainage portion of the airport is in process. There is also ongoing chip seal on the general aviation side.
New Air Service: Boutique Air began service March 2016 and has flights to Denver and Salt Lake. They will increase the flights as demand increases.
- 2000 North 1500 West to Vernal Avenue: The Joint Highway Committee Small Urban Subcommittee awarded $1 million for this project, which would cover about one-half of the funding needed for the project. The project funding will be in Fiscal Year 2021.
- Brush Creek/Island Park Road: The Uintah Transportation Special Services District is applying for Federal Lands Access funds. Applications were due in June 2016. This money is used for state and county roads that access federal properties. These roads have been on the asphalt management program radar; however, the roads have more issues requiring additional funding.
- Red Fleet Road: The Uintah Transportation Special Services District received funding for Fiscal Year 2021 for Red Fleet Road through the Joint Highway Committee. These funds will be used to bring the road up to standard.
- Uintah County Trails Master Plan: The Uintah Transportation Special Services District is securing funds for a county-wide master plan for active transportation through the Joint Highway Committee. This study will identify trails in urban and non-urban Uintah County.