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Is Ogden Canyon road unsafe at any speed for Utah drivers?

Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 09, 2024

OGDEN, Utah — Following a weekend crash that killed a local business leader and his teenage daughter, many are now expressing safety concerns about driving through Ogden Canyon.

"If nothing is done, there will be additional accidents in that canyon, there will be additional people that have to suffer loss and it's unnecessary," said Todd Caron, "it's absolutely unnecessary."

The canyon is a gateway between the urban areas of Weber County and luscious alpine landscapes, but characteristics of State Route 39 worry frequent users like Caron, who has started a petition to make changes in the canyon.

Lifetime products CEO and President Richard Hendrickson and his daughter, Sally, were killed Saturday after heavy equipment dislodged from a tow truck and fell onto the Hendrickson's SUV.

"The accident that occurred on Saturday was absolutely tragic, and the issues leading up to that accident unfortunately have been ongoing," said Caron.

Some of the canyon road's biggest concerns include its narrowness and lack of shoulder space.

"We've had numerous incidents with my family that we've had oncoming vehicles that have been over the center line simply for the reason they can't stay within their lane of traffic," claimed Caron. "Normally, on a normal road, if you had a shoulder you would be afforded the ability to at least move to the side."

Caron's petition, which has over 3,000 signatures, asks for possible restrictions on some large commercial vehicles that travel through Ogden Canyon.

"I would like for us to look at what needs to happen in order for the corrections to be made to this road to make it safe for travel for everybody," he said.

The Utah Department of Transportation says after an investigation into Saturday's crash is completed, the agency will conduct a review to see if there's anything that should be done from an engineering standpoint.

"We want to prevent crashes like this, everyone wants to prevent crashes like this," explained John Gleason with UDOT.

Caron is optimistic that everyone can work together to find a solution that makes the canyon safe for all.

"One life lost is too many," he said, "and if there are ways to make this road safer we need to make it safer."