Bluff Council discusses road issues

Roads in and near Bluff were discussed at recent town council meetings.

Council member Brant Murray reported on October 13 that parts of the city roads, including 4th West, received patch work in the early part of October and roads would also receive a crack seal as temperatures drop.

Mayor Ann Leppanen reported complaints received about the light-up speed limit signs on either end of town, which are often not working. The signs will likely be replaced by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), but future signs will also have issues to resolve related to power.

The new signs could rely exclusively on solar power, but they would be less reliable, depending on weather and batteries that can store power.

Another option for sustained power to the signs is to have them hard wired. Jim Hook, owner of Recapture Lodge, offered to provide power to a sign from his property.

The discussion regarding signs also brought up concerns about pedestrian traffic in town.

“Even during COVID-19, between Comb Ridge Coffee and Desert Rose Inn, you see almost every single evening... people coming extremely close to being hit,” said Leppanen.

She points out they have a similar issue on the opposite side of town with people crossing between Bluff Dwellings and Twin Rocks Café. Mayor Leppanen reports the town is working with UDOT to study intersections for future crosswalks.

While the town is working on crosswalk plans at major intersections, they decided to forgo until another year pursuing a specific grant for safe school crossings.

The grant specific to school crossings has just $43,000 statewide, and Bluff has next to no chance of receiving the money.

“In order to get the safe routes for school, they do a study to see how many kids are walking to school,” explained Leppanen. “The reality is, with the schools being shut down, kids aren’t walking to schools. So even if we had the volume of elementary school-aged kids, we wouldn’t have them walking.”

At the October 20 meeting, the council also received an update on plans for SR 162 to Montezuma Creek. The road intersects with Highway 191 in Bluff.

Council member Luanne Hook reports that plans for the road between Bluff and Montezuma Creek include mostly just re-paving efforts. In Montezuma Creek there will be more repairs, including a roundabout.

Additionally, the bridge at McElmo Creek will be replaced. The road from Montezuma Creek to Aneth will be reconstructed and the road from Aneth to the Arizona state line will be repaired.

The road from Montezuma Creek to McCracken Mesa will also be repaired, with funds coming from a federal grant.

Town council also approved spending $11,000 of their CARES funds on a system that will video stream town meetings. Council will also use a $2,400 donation from Rocky Mountain Power to cover part of the installation costs.

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