US 189 in Utah
US 189 is a US Highway in the US state of Utah. The road forms a north-south route in the northeast of the state, from Provo to the Wyoming border at Emory. The route is partially double-numbered with Interstate 80 and not signposted there either. The route is 154 kilometers long.
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US 189 at Charleston.
US 189 begins at its junction with Interstate 15 in the city of Provo, a city of 115,000 residents. Already after 1 kilometer you cross the US 89, which runs parallel to the I-15. In Provo, US 189 is a 4-lane urban arterial with traffic lights. The road leads close to Brigham Young University. After Provo, the road rises 1400m to a 1700m plateau at Heber Valley. This area is called the Uinta Mountains and the road leads through the Uinta National Forest and through the Provo Canyon. The road here leads past Bridal Veil Falls, a 185-meter high waterfall.
At Heber City, US 40 merges from Vernal, after which US 40 is double-numbered with US 189 for the rest of the route to Park City for about 30 kilometers. The route then runs north, has 2×2 lanes and is highway-like. The road rises here a bit to an altitude of about 2000 meters. At Park City, US 189 merges with Interstate 80 and remains in Utah for the remainder of its route. I-80 and US 189 then head north, later northeast, and Interstate 84 from Ogden terminates at the highway at Echo. Past Emory, the road crosses the Wyoming border and US 189 in Wyoming continues on I-80 to Evanston.
US 189 through the Provo Canyon.
The later route of US 189 existed in the 1920s as a dirt road from Provo through Heber City, Park City and Coalville to Evanston in Wyoming. This route was numbered at the time as State Highway 7 between Provo and Heber City, State Highway 6 between Heber City and Kimball Junction, and State Highway 4 between Kimball Junction and the Wyoming border. A large part of this route already received the status of a US Highway in 1926, namely the US 40 between Kimball Junction and Heber City, the US 530 between Kimball Junction and Echo and the US 30S between Echo and the border with Wyoming. Only the section between Provo and Heber City was not yet a US Highway.
In the late 1920s, the first part of US 189 was paved from Provo to Provo Canyon. Elsewhere the route was a gravel road. Between 1930 and 1933, the entire route from Heber City to the Wyoming border was paved. In the mid-1930s most of the remaining part between Provo and Heber City was also paved, but a small part was not paved until the late 1930s.
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Introducing the US 189
US 189 was introduced in 1938 and ran from Provo to Jackson, Wyoming. It was double-numbered with US 40 and US 30 and replaced the short US 530 between Kimball Junction and Echo. So US 530 only existed for 12 years between 1926 and 1938.
The reason for the short US 530 was that US 30 and US 40 approach each other at a short distance, but a gap of 35 kilometers remained that formed an important connection and therefore required US Highway status. It was the shortest US Highway in the United States at that time, along with US 320.
Upgrades to US 189
The route was replaced by the construction of Interstate 80 in the 1960s-70s, and is also no longer signposted between Park City and the Wyoming border. Between Heber City and Park City, the road is still double-numbered with US 40. This section was upgraded to 2×2 lanes in the 1980s, with most of I-80 to Heber City being a quasi-motorway. The split-level connection to Silver Summit Parkway was constructed around 1993. In about 2002, the connection to I-80 was reconstructed with a flyover built for traffic from Heber City to Salt Lake City.
Also, the stretch from Provo through the Provo Canyon to the Deer Creek Reservoir has been widened to 4 lanes, part 2×2 divided highway and part five lane road with center turn lane. It is not clear when this section was widened to 4 lanes, but at least before 1993. It was not marked as a four-lane road on official Utah road maps for a long time.
Through Provo, US 189 is a fairly busy road with 38,000 vehicles per day. Outside of Provo this drops to about 9,000 vehicles per day, and between 14,000 and 27,000 vehicles on the double numbering with the US 40.