In­ter­state high­way plan could have changed Span­ish Fork’s his­tory

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Ed Helmick

In the last few years, the busi­ness growth near the in­ter­sec­tion of US High­way 6 and In­ter­state 15 has been im­pres­sive, or one could even say ex­plo­sive. How­ever an in­ter­est­ing piece of his­tory is that more than 60 years ago, the orig­i­nal plan­ning for the In­ter­state High­way Sys­tem pro­posed that I-70 con­nect with I-15 at Span­ish Fork. If that had oc­curred, it would have dras­ti­cally changed the busi­ness land­scape of Utah County.

The ini­tial de­sign for the Na­tional Sys­tem of In­ter­state High­ways com­pleted on Aug. 2, 1947, listed In­ter­state 70 as a transcon­ti­nen­tal su­per­high­way from Bal­ti­more, Md, to Den­ver, Colo. Political in­ter­est in Colorado wanted I-70 to con­tinue to Salt Lake City be­cause they thought it would help the Colorado econ­omy. The pro­posed route ba­si­cally fol­lowed US High­way 6 from Den­ver to Salt Lake City, which would have brought the junc­tion with I-15 to Span­ish Fork. There was a lot of cam­paign­ing for this route and of­fi­cials in both Colorado and Utah agreed the ter­mi­nus should be Span­ish Fork. The mil­i­tary, how­ever, wanted a more southerly route that would im­prove ac­cess be­tween Den­ver and Los An­ge­les, Calif. It came to the point where the mil­i­tary was very adamant that they would not sup­port the pro­ject un­less it ter­mi­nated at I-15 fur­ther south and ap­prox­i­mately 200 miles closer to Los An­ge­les. On Oc­to­ber 18, 1957 the de­ci­sion to take I-70 to Cove Fort was an­nounced with­out prior no­tice to Utah of­fi­cials.

Orig­i­nally, the In­ter­state High­way Sys­tem pro­posed that I-70 con­nect with I-15 at Span­ish Fork. If that had oc­curred, it would have dras­ti­cally changed the busi­ness land­scape of Utah County.

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