Tooele County Emergency Management is urging caution for drivers as continued rain and runoff have wreaked havoc on Faust Road near Vernon.
The rural stretch of road has been partially washed out in areas, and personnel from the Tooele County Roads Department are trying to divert water from the roadway, said Bucky Whitehouse, director of Tooele County Emergency Management.
“The road crews have been out there [Tuesday] afternoon and then all day [Wednesday], and they’re in the process of putting in metal culverts that will allow the water to cross from one side of the road to the other,” he said. “Then they’ll rebuild the road on top of those culverts after they’ve got them in.”
Whitehouse said until that time, and until the waters have subsided somewhat, drivers are urged to stay away from Faust Road, particularly between mileposts six and 10.
“We would prefer to have everyone stay out of the area,” he said. “The road is muddy enough once you leave the pavement that if somebody was to get on the shoulder or on the wrong spot on the road they could become stuck, and from that spot it’s six miles in either direction on a road that is not frequently traveled, so they could be out there a while.”
Faust Road, which had been paved since 1998, had its asphalt ground back into gravel last summer. Whitehouse said the switch from asphalt to gravel likely made no difference in the effect of the flooding.
“It’s a matter of that much water coming down off that mountain range so quickly on the road,” he said. “It wouldn’t really make a difference if it were a paved road or a dirt road. But it is enough of a hazard that we have to work on a permanent solution.”
The culverts will hopefully provide that longer-lasting solution, he said.
Although runoff earlier in the week in Rush Valley prompted the use of sandbags around some buildings, Whitehouse said, except for Faust Road, the flooding now is away from homes and infrastructure.
“Fortunately, all the heavy runoff we’re seeing right now is in the unpopulated areas, so we don’t have any houses threatened that we know of,” he said.