Friday, May 8, 2020

Hill Air Force Base: Part 3

This is the third and final post in a series covering the state routes of Hill Air Force Base. You can read the first two here and here.

Hill Air Force Base has five gates today: West (SR 103), South (232), Roy (97), Southwest, and East gates. The first two are open 24/7, Roy is open during the day on weekdays, Southwest only during rush hour on weekdays, and East only during special events or other gate closures. But historically, there was a gate on the north side of the base as well.

In November 1961, the State Road Commission created SR 168 as a short spur south from the existing SR 60 in Riverdale to this north gate. The state legislature approved it the next year with the following definition:
From north entrance to Hill Air Force Base east, to Route 60. 
Yes, that "east" in the description is a typo; the 1963 legislature corrected that to a more appropriate "northerly". And aside from a few minor changes and clarifications in the legislative description, the route has not changed since. Here's a map of the area from OSM:

I've highlighted SR 168 here in blue. (map from OSM)

The north gate was eventually closed at some point - from what I can get on Historic Aerials, it was probably sometime between 1981 and 1993. (If you have more information about this, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.)

But here's the thing - SR 168 was never decommissioned. The north gate has been closed for a good while, but 168 is still there. It drives like a minor residential road and absolutely does not belong on a state route system. Perhaps UDOT has held onto it in case Hill opens the north gate again...or maybe Riverdale won't take it back unless UDOT can give them a mileage swap (and Riverdale doesn't really have any good state route candidates that aren't SRs already). Whatever the reason, 168 still sits there as a random spur to nowhere.

Route Photos

Photos taken May 2018. I don't think there was a single reassurance shield posted in either direction when I drove this, though there is now one at the north beginning of the route.

The north end of the route. Stay straight for SR 60 west (compass north) to Riverdale, or make a sharp right for SR 60 east to South Weber. The arrows are much older than the END banner and beehives, which are of the gross newer variety.

About a mile south of there, we'll reach what was once the north gate of the air force base. SR 168 will randomly end at this bridge over...nothing? Yep, this used to be where the route crossed the Davis-Weber Canal. The canal is now buried in a culvert, but the bridge still stands.

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