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Interstate 70 or I -70 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Utah. The highway runs from Interstate 15 at Cove Fort in central Utah to Cisco at the Colorado border. Most of the route runs through desolate desert area and important places are not on the route. The route in Utah is 374 kilometers long.
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I-70 through the San Rafael Swell.
I-70 begins at an interchange with Interstate 15 at Cove Fort, a historic site just west of the Wasatch Range. The starting point is 1,850 meters above sea level, the highway ascends directly to the 2,188-meter Clear Creek Summit. The mountains of the Wasatch Range in the area are up to 3,000 meters high. You then descend to Sevier, which is located at an altitude of 1,700 meters. This makes the landscape more desert-like. US 89 connects in Sevier.
I-70 then heads northeast through an agricultural valley with circular irrigation to Salina, more than 30 miles away. The valley has a few towns here, including Richfield and Salina itself. This is the most populated portion of the Utah route from I-70. I-70 follows the Sevier River here. At Salina, US 89 exits and merges into US 50. East of Salina follows the longest stretch without gas stations in the entire United States, a 170-kilometer stretch through remote area between Salina and Green River.
East of Salina, I-70 ascends quite gradually through a series of canyons from 1,600 to 2,400 meters. The highway here leads over the 2,404-foot Emigrant Pass, the highest point on I-70 in Utah. To the east one descends again to 1,700 meters altitude, through a desolate desert landscape. The area here consists of low mountains and mesas with peaks up to approximately 2,000 meters. In part, I-70 bridges several deeper canyons. Then follows a third mountain pass of 2,216 meters high at the height of the Ghost Rock View Area. The most spectacular part of I-70 follows about 15 miles west of Green River, where the highway spectacularly runs through the San Rafael Swell, a geological formation of high rocky outcrops. The highway here also has a steep descent to an altitude of about 1,200 meters.
The US 6 from Price joins just before the town of Green River. There is also a short double numbering with US 191 here, so that three US Highways meet I-70, namely US 6, US 50 and US 191. About 30 kilometers east of Green River, US 191 already turns south towards moab. This is followed by a nearly 90-kilometer stretch to the Colorado border, which leads through a flatter desert area. US 6 and US 50 remain double-numbered to the state line with I-70. Then Interstate 70 in Colorado continues toward Grand Junction and Denver.
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I-70 is considered a difficult route to signpost. It is less common in the United States than in Europe to signpost destinations at very great distances when there are no larger towns nearby. People therefore often choose small regional towns instead of large cities many hundreds of kilometers away. I-70 passes through a very remote area, there are only two towns with more than 1,000 residents along the route, Richfield and Salina. Heading east, Denver is signposted from the interchange with I-15, this is one of the larger signposts in the US, the first distance sign indicates Denver 507 miles (816 kilometers) away.
Heading west, I-70 is more difficult to signpost due to the lack of larger towns along the remainder of I-70 and lack of larger towns just around the corner. The Cove Fort terminus is a historic site and not a real inhabited place. Driving into Utah from Colorado, only Crescent Junction and Green River are signposted. Crescent Junction is not an actual place, but an intersection of I-70 and US 191, which also has a small gas station. Green River has less than 1,000 inhabitants. Later, only “JCT I-15” will appear on the signage 178 miles (286 kilometers) away.
Because American signage uses few portals for regular exits and does not feature fork signs, through traffic only encounters destinations further on on the distance signs placed after each connection.
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Every day, 4,700 vehicles pass the I-15 interchange at Cove Fort. This increases slightly to 5,400 vehicles along Richfield and 5,200 vehicles at Salina. 3,300 vehicles and 7,900 vehicles passed US 6 at Green River through the San Rafael Swell. 6,500 vehicles drove past the Colorado border. I-70 is one of the longest highways, anywhere that handles more than 10,000 vehicles.