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According to bestitude, US 89 is a US Highway in the US state of Utah. The road forms a long north-south route through the center of the state, from the Arizona border at Big Water through Kanab and Richfield to Provo and Salt Lake City, then on to Ogden and Logan, to the border with Idaho. US 89 parallels Interstate 15 for a significant portion of its route, but opens up valleys other than I-15 in southern Utah. The road is 808 kilometers long.
US 89 at Panguitch in southern Utah.
US 89 south of Spanish Fork.
US 89 at Junction.
In the desert near Big Water, US 89 in Arizona enters Utah from Page and initially heads west for about 100 miles to Kanab. The US 89 leads here through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, a very large nature park that stretches for more than 200 kilometers in the desert. The road runs parallel to the Arizona border along the Vermillion Cliffs. One then arrives at the village of Kanab, which functions as the regional center of a fairly large area. Here ends the Alternate US 89 from Fredonia in Arizona.
The road runs from here first to the northwest, later to the north. The area through which US 89 passes is rapidly becoming more mountainous and the road is more than 2000 meters above sea level. The road runs along the Sevier River through the Dixie National Forest. Interstate 15 is about 30 to 50 miles to the west, serving most of the larger towns in this area. The US 89 mainly connects small villages. From Kanab the road runs for 235 kilometers to Richfield. To the west and east there are mountain ranges of more than 3000 meters, but US 89 follows a route through a fairly wide valley. Occasionally regional east-west routes are crossed. From Sevier, US 89 runs parallel to Interstate 70, which starts a little more west and heads northeast here. One passes through an agricultural valley with snowy peaks to the west. Here are some more towns, of which Richfield is the largest. Just past Richfield, at Aurora, one crosses I-70, which heads east to Denver.
Shortly afterwards, at the village of Salina, one intersects US 50, which enters from Delta in the west and merges onto I-70 heading east. US 89 then follows another valley to the north, passing places like Manti, Ephraim and Mount Pleasant. The route to the north is long, with 160 kilometers between Salina and Spanish Fork. Just before Spanish Fork, a 20-kilometer long double-numbering begins with US 6, the road from Delta to Price in the east. One comes here over a mountain pass and then enters the central part of Utah, where there are several large lakes, such as Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake. This corridor is urbanized with several large and medium-sized cities. US 89 runs parallel to I-15 here and is a secondary route to Provo. US 189 also starts in Provo, which runs to Heber City and Evanston in Wyoming. The road then continues through Orem and merges with Interstate 15 at American Fork.
Salt Lake City Region
This double numbering lasts as far as Draper, a southern suburb of Salt Lake City. From here, US 89 forms a parallel route to I-15, State Street. One passes through the larger suburbs of Sandy and Murray before reaching Salt Lake City itself. In Midvale, Interstate 215 crosses the three-quarter ring around Salt Lake City. US 89 then crosses Interstate 80 at South Sale Lake. The road then continues through downtown Salt Lake City and merges into I-15 in the northern suburb of Bountiful.
The second double-numbering with I-15 doesn’t take very long, until Kaysville, a southern suburb of Ogden. US 89 is again a 2×2 urban arterial here and then crosses Interstate 84 on the south side of the town of Ogden. One then passes through Ogden, one of the larger towns in the state. Also north of Ogden, the road parallels I-15 as far as Brigham City. US 91 also begins in Brigham City, which is then double-numbered as a 2×2 divided highway with US 89 until Logan, about 50 kilometers to the northeast. After Logan both roads split and US 91 goes to Pocatello in Idahowhile US 89 enters the Wasatch Range. At Garden City, there is a major descent and the road reaches larger Bear Lake before turning north and following the border with Idaho. US 89 in Idaho then continues towards Jackson in Wyoming.
Origin & route numbering
According to biotionary, US 89 was created in 1926, at that time the route ran from the Arizona border at Kanab to US 91 at Spanish Fork. The route ran parallel to US 91 for a short distance, which was a slightly more important route at the time. Only very small parts of US 89 were paved at that time, in fact no more than the passages through Richfield, Salina and Ephraim. However, fairly large parts of the route were already a somewhat improved gravel road at the time.
The southernmost part between Kanab and Page did not exist at that time. US 89 then ran south from Kanab via what is now the alternate route from US 89 to Fredonia. There were no roads in the area between Kanab and Page.
In the 1930s, US 89 was extended north through the Salt Lake City area into Idaho. For a number of years there was uncertainty about the route around Bear Lake. Idaho and Utah wanted a route north from Garden City, Wyoming wanted US 89 through its territory, so east from Garden City to the border with Wyoming. In 1938, however, it was decided that the route would run north from Garden City to Idaho.
US 89 originally ran on a different route between Brigham City and Logan. The current route was originally just US 91, US 89 went west on a detour via Deweyville, around the Wellsville Mountains rather than through them as US 91 did. In 1954, US 89 was routed over the more direct route of US 91 to Logan.
Asphalting of US 89
In the early 1930s, the asphalting of US 89 was already started on a larger scale. By 1933 several longer stretches had already been asphalted, such as between the border with Arizona and Mount Carmel Junction, a long stretch between Sevier and Fairview and at Spanish Fork . Also, the entire corridor from Spanish Fork to Logan was already paved, but this became part of US 89 only later. In the mid-1930s, work also started on asphalting the northernmost part between Logan and the border with Idaho. By 1937, nearly all of US 89 was paved, with only a few short stretches of gravel left to be paved in subsequent years.
Before 1940, Utah already had two paved north-south routes, US 89 and US 91, which run parallel to each other south of Spanish Fork, but do not interact directly because the Wasatch Range lies between them. US 89 was fully paved in Utah before Arizona and Idaho.
Glen Canyon Dam
Construction began on the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River in 1953. The dam is located just in Arizona, but for the construction of the dam a 100 kilometer long new road was built that leads east from Kanab and crosses the border into Arizona just before the Glen Canyon Dam. This road was initially numbered from 1957 as State Highway 259 and was a completely new road in an area where there were previously no roads at all. The road was completed on February 20, 1959 and became part of US 89 at that time.
The reason this became US 89 was practical, the new route was better suited as a through route to Flagstaff than the old route, which runs through a mountain area at 2,400 meters and was often difficult to drive in winter. This route became US 89A, which is mostly in Arizona. The new US 89 did not rise above 1,800 meters above sea level in Arizona and 1,700 meters in Utah. In terms of distance, US 89 and US 89A were similar.
Replacement with I-15
Interstate 15 was built through Utah during the 1960s and 1970s, mainly replacing US 91. But because US 89 north of Spanish Fork ran largely parallel or over US 91, US 89 was also bypassed here by I-15. US 91 eventually ceased to exist in southern and central Utah because nearly all of its route was merged into or bypassed I-15. Because US 89 was a separate route, it remained intact, so in 1974 US 91 was scrapped south of Brigham City, but US 89 remained because it was still a relevant north-south route that was only partially bypassed by I-15.
Today, US 89 between Spanish Fork and Brigham City is mostly an urban arterial that primarily handles local destination traffic. Between Brigham City and Logan, the dual numbering of US 89 and US 91 continued to give US 91 a more significant terminus at I-15 in Brigham City rather than US 89 in Logan.
Upgrades to US 89
Despite its length, US 89 has been significantly upgraded in few places since the road was originally paved in the 1930s. In the larger towns, the road is briefly a four-lane or five-lane road, in the Salt Lake City region the road is largely an urban arterial. The road forms the main street of Utah County and is a wide 7-lane city highway with center turn lane through and between Provo, Orem and American Fork. Also in the suburbs of Salt Lake City and in the city itself, US 89 is a major city highway with 5 to 7 lanes. The road runs through downtown Salt Lake City, partly on State Street, Salt Lake City’s main city thoroughfare.
Between Farmington and Ogden, US 89 forms an alternate 2×2 lane road that is further off I-15. This was originally an important thoroughfare, but this importance had lapsed with the opening of I-15. Through Ogden, US 89 forms Washington Boulevard, the city’s main street. US 89 is a four-lane urban road that extends into Brigham City. The section between I-15 and I-84 was later upgraded to a highway by making the existing five-lane road with center turn lane grade-separated and providing a lane separation. In the mid-1990s, a grade-separated connection with State Route 193 was first constructed. Only later did the conversion of five intersections into a grade-separated connection and two more intersections into a grade-separated intersection without a connection started. On August 2, 2021, the split-level connection with 200/400N was the first to open in Fruit Heights. On August 22, 2021, two more connections opened at Gordon Avenue and Oak Hills Drive.
The main 2×2 non-urban portion of US 89 is between Brigham City and Logan in northern Utah. Logan is the largest city in Utah that is not on an Interstate Highway and US 89 is the main access road. This section was widened to 2×2 lanes in the 1950’s from Logan south to Brigham City. About 1957 the road was widened to 4 lanes on the south side of Logan, which was extended to Wellsville circa 1959. It was only much later that the mountain section between Brigham City and Wellsville was widened to 2×2 lanes, this happened in the mid-1990s.
In southern Utah, hardly any upgrades have been made to US 89. The road passes through almost all places on the route as the main road. The only place with a diversion is the village of Redmond, just north of Salina, which was built about 1970.
Every day, 3,400 vehicles cross the border into Arizona, mostly holidaymakers on vacation. The intensity is then about 2,200 vehicles to Kanab and only 1,200 vehicles further north. From Salina there is a bit more traffic, about 4,000 to 7,000 vehicles per day. A maximum of 59,000 vehicles per day pass through Provo, which is quite a lot for a single-storey road. The Salt Lake City section has a maximum of 46,000 vehicles and 47,000 vehicles in Ogden. Only 1,700 vehicles cross the Idaho border every day.