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Interstate highway plan could have changed Spanish Fork’s history

Mar 03, 2016 07:10PM
In the last few years, the business growth near the intersection of US High-way 6 and Interstate 15 has been impressive, or one could even say explosive. However an interesting piece of history is that more than 60 years ago, the original planning for the Interstate Highway System proposed that I-70 connect with I-15 at Spanish Fork. If that had occurred, it would have drastically changed the business landscape of Utah County.

The initial design for the National System of Interstate Highways completed on Aug. 2, 1947, listed Interstate 70 as a transcontinental superhighway from Baltimore, Md, to Denver, Colo. Political interest in Colorado wanted I-70 to continue to Salt Lake City because they thought it would help the Colorado economy. The proposed route basically followed US Highway 6 from Denver to Salt Lake City, which would have brought the junction with I-15 to Spanish Fork. There was a lot of campaigning for this route and officials in both Colorado and Utah agreed the terminus should be Spanish Fork. The military, however, wanted a more southerly route that would improve access between Denver and Los Angeles, Calif. It came to the point where the military was very adamant that they would not support the project unless it terminated at I-15 further south and approximately 200 miles clos-er to Los Angeles. On October 18, 1957 the decision to take I-70 to Cove Fort was announced without prior notice to Utah offi cials.