Fire chief concerned about safety along stretch of I-84
Nov 10, 2021, 8:18 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2021, 9:26 am
MOUNTAIN GREEN, Utah — The Mountain Green fire chief is calling for safety improvements along what he believes is an extremely dangerous stretch of Interstate 84. He says his department deals with frequent crashes there, and a little extra warning could cut down on the number of crashes they see out here.
Chief Brian Brendel says by responding out here, his volunteers put their own lives on the line.
“Our guys see a lot of rough stuff,” he said. “It’s been a real challenge for us because we respond out, and we’re one of three responding agencies that go into Weber Canyon for wrecks. And in that part of Weber Canyon, where the power plant is, the S-curve has been causing tremendous problems, especially with semis.”
On Tuesday, an SUV rolled over in the very spot the chief is concerned by. He said cars and semis often lose control, between mile markers 89 and 90. You can see the gashes in the road and divider. The snow poles are knocked over and broken.
“There’s all kinds of nicknames for that corner. The ‘Flippin’ Corner’ is one of our favorites,” he said.
They also call it “Beer-Truck Corner,” after two of them rolled there, just months apart.
“But it’s no joke,” Brendel said. “We’re waiting with some trepidation about when we are going to have that hazmat semi roll over there and close Weber Canyon for weeks.”
Back in August, just east of this point, an ammonium nitrate emulsion tanker rolled over, closing the westbound lanes for over nine hours. He worries about what would happen if that were to happen in this short location.
“It would drastically change the way of life here in Morgan County, trying to get through to Weber County. Ambulances wouldn’t be able to get through, fire trucks to go there or come here.”
But Brendel is hopeful now that the Utah Department of Transportation is looking into ways to improve safety here.
“We’re looking at doing some static signs, more permanent signs that will tell people to be careful,” said Mitch Shaw with UDOT. “While we’re working through this and looking at solutions, we want to remind people to slow down, pay attention.
“People need to be careful. They need to slow down, and really pay attention to what they’re doing.”
They’ve already put in this electronic sign to warn semis to slow down, but Brendel said they get through a couple of curves, think they’re in the clear and then hit that last, dangerous curve.
Brendel added that coincidentally right now, it is crash responder safety awareness week. He’s asking drivers to please slow down, and pull to the side when they see emergency vehicles pulled over.
“The most dangerous place for a firefighter to be, aside from in a house fire, is out on the freeway,” he said “Our folks are out there all the time. Please slow down and move over. Our firefighters’ lives are precious, and we really really want to not have to have that tragedy occur.”