Ragnar brings fast runners and slow traffic
The Ragnar Relay Race is slated to bring more than 10,000 runners onto Summit County’s roads on Friday night into Saturday, resulting in traffic delays throughout the county.
This year 1,127 teams of 12 people each have registered. The runners each run a section of the 192-mile course from Logan to Park City starting Friday and ending Saturday.
The race enters Summit County near Henefer and continues on the Rail Trail and State Road 32 through Coalville, Oakley, Kamas and Francis before entering Park City. From there, runners will be routed to Heber, Midway and over Guardsman Pass. The teams will cross the finish line at Park City High School.
According to Park City Special Events Staffer Tommy Young, the race went smoothly last year in Park City and resembled a large "Running with Ed." No roads in Park City will be closed but traffic controls and cones will be placed along S.R. 224 and Deer Valley Drive.
To reduce the amount of spectator traffic in Park City, park-and-ride lots will be set up at Richardson Flats and Canyons with shuttles carrying people to and from the finish line at Dozier Field.
Summit County Planner Kimber Gabryszak said that Ragnar has not always gone smoothly in the county and the special-event permit for the event was almost denied this year.
"The biggest impact is on S.R. 32 where the runners are on the road from Francis to Park City," she said. "Last year, vans were driving alongside their runners and traffic came to a dead stop on that road for a few hours. So this year, the race is designed so that S.R. 32 is a no-support section and vans must drive directly to the next leg of the race."
Despite the changes, Gabryszak said delays are still expected due to the increased amount of traffic and runners on the road.
"S.R. 32 is a narrow road without much of a shoulder so runners may partially be in the lanes of traffic," she said. "Residents should expect delays beginning late Friday night and lasting into Saturday afternoon."
Gabryszak said that Ragnar also changed its code of conduct to accommodate Peoa residents, who last year complained of being kept awake Friday night due to spectator cheering.
"Areas like Peoa and Henefer are now a designated "quiet zone" since many participants are running through these towns late at night," she said.
Summit County Detective Sergeant Ron Bridge said that Ragnar has become a very large event in the county and drivers are asked to be aware of runners on the road and allow for extra travel time.
Additional traffic along Interstate 80 is also expected as spectators travel from Salt Lake City to Park City. Utah Highway Patrol, Park City Police and the Summit County Sheriff’s office will be monitoring the race course and providing traffic support.
For a map of the course and more information go to http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/wasatchback.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.