US 191 is a US Highway in the US state of Utah. The road forms a north-south route through the east of the state, from the Arizona border through Moab, Green River, Price, and Vernal to the Wyoming border. The road does not pass through large towns and is 650 kilometers long.
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US 191 in the Moab Canyon.
North of Mexican Water, US 191 in Arizona crosses the Utah border from Eagar, into a bone-dry desert area. The road then continues north for about 20 miles, with an intersection with Monument Valley US 163 just before Bluff, which ends here. US 191 then continues north through the rocky desert. You then pass through the village of Blanding and after 80 kilometers you reach the village of Monticello, where US 491 begins and towards Cortez in Coloradoexpires. The US 191 meanwhile rises to more than 2000 meters and then enters a somewhat more temperate area, the mountains around are covered with forests. The peaks reach above 3600 meters. US 191 then runs for 90 kilometers to Moab. Moab is the largest city in this region and has an important regional function. The road then runs past Arches National Park. To the west is Canyonlands National Park. It also crosses the Colorado River here. The road then continues to Interstate 70 at Crescent Junction and then merges with that interstate.
US 191 westbound for 25 miles is double-numbered with I-70, which is already double-numbered with US 6 and US 50 due to the limited number of roads in this area. It passes along Green River before US 6 and US 191 turn north over a plateau to Price, a distance of 100 miles with no towns on the route. The region around Price has more population and agriculture. There is a ring road around Price, where a small part of US 6/191 also has 2×2 lanes. After Helper, US 6 and US 191 split with US 6 turning west toward Spanish Fork. US 191 turns northeast here and rises to about 2,700 meters through the Uinta Mountains. One then reaches a wide valley around Duchesne, where the US 191 merges on theUS 40, the road from Salt Lake City. Both roads are then double-numbered for about 100 kilometers until Vernal, the regional town for northeastern Utah.
One passes through a number of valleys with limited agriculture, such as around Roosevelt. Quite a few rivers converge here to form the Green River through the Desolation Canyon to the south. In Vernal, US 191 turns north for the final 50 miles to the Wyoming border. US 40 then continues toward sparsely populated northern Colorado. US 191 then ascends through the Uinta Mountains to the Flaming Gorge. This area is so high that there is a lot of forest, the Ashley National Forest. The road goes over the Flaming Gorge Dam and then comes through the last town, Dutch John, which is no more than a few blocks. Then US 191 crosses the Wyoming border in Wyomingacross and continues toward Rock Springs.
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US 191 in Arches National Park.
History & first route numbering
The later US 191 was originally developed as State Highway 8 between Castlegate and Valley City and State Highway 9 between Valley City and Monticello. A road already existed between Duchesne and Castlegate. State Highway 6 ran between Duchesne and Vernal. There was also a road from Monticello south to Bluff, which ended there on the San Juan River. There was no through road to Arizona.
With the introduction of the US Highways in 1926, several numbers were assigned to the route. Between Monticello and Valley City this was US 450. Between Valley City, Green River, Price and Castlegate this was US 50. Between Duchesne and Vernal this was US 40. Three other sections were state highways at that time, namely the State Highway 47 between Bluff and Monticello, State Highway 33 between Castlegate and Duchesne, and State Highway 44 between Vernal and the Wyoming border, with the northern portion reaching the Wyoming border more westerly than present-day US 191
At the time, Valley City was the intersection between US 50 and US 450. Today this is no longer a place, US 50 moved north in the 1930s, moving the intersection between the two roads slightly north to Crescent Junction, a hamlet that because of the intersection function, however, is known.
Asphalting of US 191
The Cart Creek Bridge near the Flaming Gorge Dam in extreme northeast Utah.
In 1927 the route of the later US 191 was still almost completely unpaved. Large parts were a dirt road. The section between Valley City, Moab and Lasal Junction was a slightly improved gravel road, south of it a dirt road. The route was also a dirt road between Mounds and Valley City. The only paved section at the time existed between Price and Helper. Eastern Utah was still poorly connected in the early 1930s, so asphalting roads clearly had a lower priority here than in the western half of the state.
The asphalting was fastest on the east-west stretches of the later US 191, namely US 50 between Crescent Junction and Price and US 40 between Duchesne and Vernal, both of which were asphalted in the period 1933-1937. Also, parts of the route from Moab to Crescent Junction were asphalted. South of Monticello, however, the road was still a little improved dirt road. Also the section through the mountains between Castlegate and Duchesne was not a high priority and was a dirt or gravel road. This also applied to the section between Vernal and the Wyoming border.
In the second half of the 1940s, the remaining parts between Monticello and Crescent Junction were asphalted. In the early to mid-1950s, the road between Bluff and Monticello was paved. At the time this was still numbered as State Highway 47 and was later also part of US 163 for some time. In the late 1950s, the then State Highway 44 north of Vernal was asphalted.
After 1960 there were still two missing parts. The southern part from the border with Arizona to Bluff was not built at all, travel here was by jeeps through the deserts of the Navajo Nation. Traveling here without a guide was not recommended. The mountain section between US 50 at Castlegate and US 40 at Duchesne was also unpaved and partly difficult to drive on. It was not until the early 1970s that the section between Castlegate and Duchesne was fully paved. This was one of the last sections of a later US Highway to be asphalted in the United States.
In the early 1960s, a new road was built from what was then State Highway 44 and the newly constructed Flaming Gorge Dam in the Green River in northeastern Utah. This was numbered State Highway 260. In the late 1970s, the section north of the Green River was also constructed, from the Flaming Gorge Dam to the Wyoming border.
The southernmost section from Bluff through the Navajo Indian Reservation to US 160 in Arizona was not opened until 1981. This was an entirely new road link through an area where there were previously no roads at all, through traffic had to take US 163 to Kayenta or US 491 through Cortez in Colorado.
Introducing the US 191
The opening of the missing section in southern Utah and the missing section in the Wyoming border area also prompted the extension of US 191 south. The route number has existed since 1926, but the route has been modified several times in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and also northern Utah.
The number US 191 was introduced in Utah way back in 1937, but in a very different part of the state, in 1937 the route was extended south from Idaho Falls to Tremonton in the far north of Utah. In 1946 this route was extended further to Brigham City, shortened again to Tremonton in 1962 with the completion of I-15 and in 1972 US 191 disappeared again from Utah when the southern terminus was returned to the original terminus of 1926.: Idaho Falls in Idaho.
With the completion of the road in southern Utah in 1981, the route was extended at one time 1,450 kilometers south from West Yellowstone, Montana to I-40 in Chambers, Arizona. This established the current route through eastern Utah. The extension of US 191 was a coordinated action by Wyoming, Utah and Arizona and was approved by the AASHTO.
However, with the introduction of US 191, long double numberings arose: with US 40 in northeastern Utah, with US 50 in central eastern Utah and with US 163 in much of southeastern Utah. In 1984, the Utah Department of Transportation decided to discontinue US 163 on the 220-mile stretch from Crescent Junction to Bluff, de facto eliminating one long double numbering.
Upgrades to US 191
The first upgrade was a five-mile upgrade to 2×2 lanes between Carbonville and Martin, just north of Price, which was commissioned about 1962. In the early 1980s, a 2×2 lane bypass was constructed at Price, a 10-mile stretch from the southeast side of Price to beyond Carbonville, which joined the four-lane section of the 1960s. Of this section, only the portion between the north side of Price and Carbonville had 2×2 lanes, but the Price bypass had three grade separations.
Few major upgrades have been made to the rest of US 191 after the original asphalting. One of the most significant was the doubling of 9 miles of road north of Moab in 2006, as this is where a lot of tourist traffic converges to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Just 1,100 vehicles cross the Arizona border every day, making their way toward Moab to 3,500 vehicles and 14,000 vehicles in Moab. 2,900 vehicles continue to I-70. The section from Price to Duchesne is very quiet with only 500 vehicles per day. About 1,400 vehicles drive from Vernal to the Wyoming border.