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A new UDOT safety ramp can’t come fast enough for a Bear Lake neighborhood

Mar 3, 2020, 12:46 PM
Today's semi truck is the 4th one in 18 months to crash at the intersection of US-89 & SR-30. (Phot...
Today's semi truck is the 4th one in 18 months to crash at the intersection of US-89 & SR-30. (Photo courtesy of Bear Lake UT/ID)
(Photo courtesy of Bear Lake UT/ID)

GARDEN CITY, Utah — A third semi truck in less than 6-months crashed in Garden City at the intersection of US-89 & SR-30 in Rich County.

Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Nick Street says the semi-driver had never driven on that steep of a hill before and put his truck into a bizarre configuration.  He lost air to his compression brakes and was unable to stop.  Two crashes last August were also because the brakes failed on the trucks.

On August 15, 2019, a semitrailer headed downhill at the same intersection overheated.  The driver was unable to stop at the stop sign and rolled through the intersection, crashing into a storage facility.

Five days later on August 20, 2019, a construction truck hauling asphalt crashed in Raspberry Square.  Three storage units were damaged in that incident.

The worst crash happened on October 10, 2018 when a semitrailer overturned at the intersection and slid into a sporting goods store.  The driver in that crash, Ahmed Abdelgader, 31, of Omaha, Nebraska, died and a passenger critically injured.

Now, the space which previously housed the sporting goods store and storage units is an empty field.  Today’s semi-truck was stopped by deep snow and mud about 40-feet before a row of houses.  Lt. Street says if there were dry conditions, the truck likely would have hit them.

A week ago, 0n February 25th, the Utah Department of Transportation announced it will construct a barrier at the US-89 SR-30 intersection.  But it may take many months to complete.

In the meantime, Lt. Street reminds semi-drivers of their training.  “Whatever gear they use to go UP a hill, is the same gear they use to go DOWN it.”

He also says the safety division has a review of training procedures for big-rig operators.  Saying “drivers can go years only on flat terrain, and then wind up in Utah in our steep canyons.  They may not always remember what they were taught.”

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A new UDOT safety ramp can’t come fast enough for a Bear Lake neighborhood