Park City drivers pushed to road rage as highway work continues | ParkRecord.com

Park City drivers pushed to road rage as highway work continues

Crews using heavy machinery are repaving a section of the S.R. 224 entryway. The Park City Police Department says the work might have increased driver tensions, leading to recent reports of road rage.

The Park City Police Department in late May and early June received at least three reports of conflicts between drivers, cases of apparent road rage at a time when tensions could be heightened amid a repaving of part of the S.R. 224 entryway that has backed up traffic.

The three cases did not appear to be serious, and they did not involve physical confrontations or weapons, but they illustrate the aggravation the roadwork may be causing as the summer tourism season arrives.

Some of the details of the cases included:

• on June 1 at 9:08 a.m. on S.R. 248, where an inbound driver headed to work reported reaching what was described as a "bottleneck" in traffic. The person told the police a pickup truck passed some of the cars by driving into the oncoming lane of traffic and then attempting to cut off the caller. The pickup truck nearly sideswiped the caller's vehicle, according to the police logs. The driver of the pickup truck made an obscene gesture, the police were told.

• on May 30 at 12:57 p.m. on Swede Alley, where an incident was reported between a taxi and another vehicle. A Park City bus driver filed the report but was not involved, the police said. A surveillance camera on the bus apparently recorded the confrontation, the police said. Detailed information about the case was not forwarded to the Police Department.

• on May 29 at 8:39 a.m. on Kearns Boulevard outside the Park City School District campus. The police were told one driver refused to allow another one to merge. The driver who was attempting to merge contacted the Police Department saying the other person "tried to force him off the road" and made an obscene gesture. The other person also followed the driver who contacted the police, videotaping the vehicle, the Police Department was told.

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Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the department found the vehicle involved in the case on June 1. The driver was a juvenile, the police said. Kirk said an officer spoke to the juvenile's mother, who told the police she would talk to the teen.

Road rage incidents are rare in Park City even as there have been widespread complaints about traffic for years. The timing of last week's cases is also notable since late May and early June are typically not overly busy stretches in the tourism industry. All three days of the reports were weekdays.

The Utah Department of Transportation is amid a repaving project on S.R. 224, the primary Park City entryway. The project extends between the S.R. 248 and Bear Hollow Drive intersections. S.R. 248 is signed Kearns Boulevard in Park City and is a major corridor between the city and points east. The work is expected to be finished in August.

Part of the construction zone is inside the Park City limits while the rest is in unincorporated Summit County. The Summit County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday morning it had not received a complaint involving road rage in the past two weeks.

Kirk said the S.R. 224 construction zone could have exacerbated some of the tensions on other roads. Some drivers who would otherwise use S.R. 224 are seeking alternate routes to avoid the construction zone, increasing traffic on S.R. 248, he said. Some of the issues are due to drivers "stressed by the traffic backups caused by the construction," Kirk said.

He said drivers should consider the impacts of the roadwork as they plot a travel route in or out of Park City. Kirk also said drivers should be "more civil and tolerant."

"But some advanced planning is even better," Kirk said.