Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wasatch County Spurs

For this post, we'll go back to Wasatch County. I've already discussed the routes around Midway in a previous post, but other areas of the county have also had a handful of spur routes that served some of the outlying areas not on the major regional highways. Specifically, we'll talk about the former State Routes 169, 222, and 223.

The two major Wasatch County highways, SR 6 and SR 7 (now US 40 and US 189 respectively), were established in the earliest days of the state highway system. Those two routes junctioned in Heber, the largest city in the region. SR 113 followed soon after, connecting Midway (the second-largest population center) to the major highways. Nothing smaller than Midway was linked to the state highway system until 1935, when SR 169 was created. The legislative description read:
From route 6 in Heber easterly to Lake Creek.
That began at US 40 (Main Street) in Heber City and ran east on Center Street, then southeast along Lake Creek Road. It's unclear exactly where the eastern terminus would have been - according to maps, 169 followed Lake Creek into the Uinta Mountains some distance up Lake Creek Canyon. But how far is another question. The 1954 USGS topo map suggests the endpoint was somewhere roughly north of Witts Lake:

USGS (Salt Lake City), 1954.

That is roughly in the area of what is now Timber Lakes, a CDP and private gated community east of Heber. Based on the extent of what was paved in 1967, it seems most likely to me that the route's eastern terminus was just past the fork with Lake Pines Drive - the modern road branching off Lake Creek Rd into Timber Lakes.

The next four routes in the area were created in 1941. We've already discussed two of them - SR 224 and 225 - which were spurs off SR 113 to hot springs in the Midway area. As you might guess, the other two were numbered 222 and 223. SR 222 was defined:
From route 7 southeasterly to Wallsburg.
That was a simple enough route, beginning at US 189 near Deer Creek Reservoir and heading southeast along what's now called Main Canyon Road, entering the community of Wallsburg along Main Street. The Wallsburg terminus was never explicitly defined, but it was probably at the intersection of Main and Center Streets in the center of town. Here's how the route looked on the 1950 Shell map:

Shell (Utah), 1950.
SR 223 is less straightforward. Unlike the other 1941 routes in this area, which served towns or hot springs, the purpose of 223 was to connect to the Ontario and Mayflower Mines, part of the Park City mining district. Here's how the route was originally defined:
From Keetley junction on route 6 westerly to Keetley thence southwesterly and southeasterly to route 6.
Unlike most old state highways, it is actually rather difficult to trace the route of the former SR 223 today - mostly because most of the roadways that were once part of this route have been obliterated by the Jordanelle Reservoir and surrounding development, including the modern US 40 freeway. However, after hunting down and comparing various old topos, maps, and satellite images, I was able to produce a map showing a fairly good approximation of where the old highway went. You can view it for yourself here.

The route began just at US 40/189 just southwest of Hailstone (where the US highways met) and proceeded northwest to Cranmer, where the Mayflower Mine was located. It then turned north (on an unpaved road, it looks like), passing through McHenry Canyon before turning northeast at the McCune Tunnel. From there, it went northeast through McCune Hollow to Keetley Station, the site of the Ontario Mine's Drain Tunnel No. 2 (where a water treatment plant is located today). The route then traveled in a generally easterly direction to Keetley Junction, where it ended at US 40. Interestingly, that junction is labelled Keetley on most maps, though "Keetley" was used in state law to refer to the site shown on topo maps as Keetley Station.

SR 223 was too small to appear on most maps of the time. But it did appear on this small-scale USGS map from 1970:

USGS (Salt Lake City), 1970.

Like most short spurs of their day, all three routes were eventually decommissioned. SR 169 was deleted from the state highway system in 1953, while 222 and 223 both lasted until 1969.

Although they are no longer state highways, the routings of SR 169 and 222 still exist with minimal realignments. However, 223 was heavily impacted by the construction of the Jordanelle Reservoir around 1990. Since US 40 would be submerged by the new lake, it was moved to a new-terrain freeway alignment to the west, obliterating some of old 223. Even more of the old road was submerged by the lake itself. However, there are still some identifiable segments of old 223, especially in the vicinity of the Mayflower mine and near Keetley Station. Although the road to the Jordanelle Water Treatment Plant is called "Old Keetley Road", most of this has actually been realigned slightly to the north of the historic 223 alignment.

Both endpoints are now submerged in the Jordanelle Reservoir. Hailstone is probably gone for good, but the Keetley town site may emerge from the lake during exceptionally severe multi-year droughts.

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