Echo Junction on Interstate 80 sees two semi-truck rollovers in three-day stretch
Interstate 80 near Echo Junction in eastern Summit County has been an accident hotspot for semi-trucks within the last week.
The stretch of road leading west toward Echo Junction has a 70 mph speed limit before it drops down to 35 mph for a sharp curve at the Interstate 84 interchange.
Two semi-truck rollovers have occurred at that location within the last week. Both accidents, just days apart, shut down portions of the interstate for several hours.
“It happened and it’s unfortunate. It’s definitely concerning,” said Sgt. Nick Street, Utah Highway Patrol spokesman. “You have a sudden curve where you need to make a quick decision to slow down and not everyone is able to make that decision, obviously, judging from the accidents we’ve had.”
The second semi-truck rollover occurred Tuesday at around 5 p.m. Street said the driver was hauling potatoes and appeared to take the turn too fast, rolling the vehicle. The driver sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene. He was cited for driving too fast for conditions.
“People think that means road conditions, but it also means driving too fast because of the semi’s load or because of the condition of the vehicle,” Street said.
The incident shutdown the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 for a couple hours, Street said. He said traffic was backed up for at least three miles while crews worked to remove the semi-truck.
Another semi-truck rollover occurred just days before at the same location in the westbound lanes. The driver was also not injured in that accident.
But, the location isn’t just prone to rollovers. A semi-truck caught fire near Echo Junction on March 18. The truck was fully engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived. It was a complete loss. The driver escaped uninjured.
More than 50 accidents have occurred near the Echo Junction within the last three years, according to information provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety and the Utah Department of Transportation. None of the wrecks were fatal.
North Summit Fire Service District spokesman Tyler Rowser said he has been driving along that stretch of road since he was about 16 years old. He said it can be difficult to navigate unless you are familiar with it.
“That straightaway coming into it can be very deceiving,” he said. “The road drops down right at the junction and it almost looks like you are going up a hill.”
He said the area was more of an issue during the late 1990s. The significant amount of problems eventually led to UDOT redoing some of the signs around the curve to warn drivers to slow down.
“It definitely cut down on the calls,” he said. “Besides this past week, we haven’t been out there for an accident in about a year. I hope this isn’t a sign that more are to come.”
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.