Thursday, April 2, 2020

Midway area routes

Midway is one of the more interesting small towns Utah has to offer. Located a few miles west of Heber City, it is the second-largest city in Wasatch County and is home to multiple resorts, golf courses, and numerous recreation opportunities in both summer and winter. It's also served by state highways that have changed over the years, which gives us something to talk about.

Midway was not on the Utah state highway system until 1931, when it was placed on the alignment of SR 113. That route began at SR 7 at Charleston (now US 189) and ran north to Midway, turning east there and continuing to Heber City, where it ended at US 40 (now also US 189). From south to north, it followed Charleston Road, Center Street, Main Street, Midway Lane, and 100 South. This route is almost exactly the same as today, except for the southern terminus in Charleston. Back then, SR 7 (now US 189) did not bypass Charleston as it does today. Instead, it entered Charleston from the south along 3600 West (current SR 113) and turned east along 3600 South before continuing northeast to Heber.

US Census, 1940.

The Charleston bypass was completed at some point between then and 1954; at that time SR 113 would have been lengthened to its current extent.

In 1941, the legislature added a pair of additional routes - SR 224 and SR 225 - as spurs off SR 113 to two local hot springs. SR 224 was defined to run:
From route 113 in Midway northwesterly to Schneitter's Hot Pots.
This seems fairly straightforward - almost certainly it followed the same alignment as SR 222 does today: west on Center Street, north on 200 West, west on 200 North, and north on Homestead Road. Schneitter's Hot Pots were on the west side of Homestead Road, between the modern intersections with Bluff Road and Lime Canyon Road. They're still around today, located within a miniature golf course owned by the Zermatt Resort.

Somewhat more complicated was the addition of SR 225, which the legislature defined as follows:
From route 113 in Midway northerly to Luke's Hot Pots.
Luke's Hot Pots appear to no longer exist, but their location is pretty clear: they were at a place now labeled Mountain Spa on many maps. That's at the north end of a road called Mountain Spa Lane on online mapping sites, but signed as 200 East. What is a bit less clear is how 225 got there from SR 113. The 1955 USGS topo doesn't offer any additional clues:

USGS (Midway), 1955.

In short, there are two possible scenarios for the routing of SR 225. One is directly north from the center of town (where it would have junctioned both SR 113 and 222) along Main Street, then east on 600 North and north on 200 West. The other proceeds north from SR 113 along River Road, with a short jog west on 600 North to reach 200 West. Context clues from the roads and historic imagery suggest the possibility of the River Road alignment, but the Wasatch Front inset on the official state map from 1958 says otherwise:

USRC/Rand McNally, 1958.

Here's my own interpretation of that map, zoomed in a bit more on Midway. I made that map before I had access to the 1958 map above, so the dotted line represented the possibility of a 225 alignment along River Rd.

State routes in Midway from 1941 to 1963. Red is SR 113, blue is SR 224, and green is SR 225.

SR 225 was decommissioned in 1963. However, SR 224 was extended north that year to serve the new Wasatch Mountain State Park. But it didn't stop there: it continued north over Empire Pass to Park City Junction, where it ended at SR 248 (Kearns Boulevard). And in 1969, it was extended north again, replacing SR 248 all the way to US 40 at Kimball Junction. By 1986, I-80 had replaced US 40 west of Silver Creek Junction, but SR 224 had not changed:

1986, unknown source

In 1990, multiple highways in the area were either decommissioned or realigned, the story of which is a long one and will almost certainly be covered in a future post. But for now, all we need to worry about is that SR 224 was decommissioned between the Summit/Wasatch County line and the turnoff to the Pine Creek Campground, near the north edge of Wasatch Mountain State Park. Before it was deleted, that segment had been a rare example of an unpaved Utah state highway. (If you look at the road now, you'll notice it is now paved - Wasatch County did that sometime in the mid to late 2000s.)

That was a weird change, though, because it left a gap in SR 224: a southern segment ran northwest from SR 113 in Midway through the state park to Pine Creek Campground, and a northern segment went from the county line north through Park City to I-80.

SR 224 remained discontinuous until May 2004, when the Utah Transportation Commission approved a resolution to redesignate the Midway portion as SR 222. As a result, SR 224 now covers none of its original alignment and serves a completely different purpose than it did originally.

Route Photos

I don't have a whole lot of photos from these routes, but here are a couple:

The modern south end of SR 222 in Midway. Note the traffic light in the background - apparently Midway residents threw a fit when it was installed a couple years back.
The east end of SR 113 in Heber, with end sign hidden behind trees. US 189 should also be on here.

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