Law enforcement and road closures on Big Boy No. 4014's route in Wyoming and Utah

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The 2014 deadhead move of No. 4014 through Utah's Echo Canyon created a long line of chasers in vehicles.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — With only one month before Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 makes its inaugural run from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Ogden, Utah, law enforcement agencies in both states are reminding fans not to park on Interstate highways, obey traffic laws, and don’t meet a state trooper when you’d rather be photographing a 4-8-8-4.

The Utah Highway Patrol is planning a “heavy presence” on Interstates 84 and 80 between the Wyoming state line near Wahsatch, Utah, and Ogden during UP steam operations in late April with No. 844 and with the Big Boy next month. The railroad and the Interstates parallel and cross each other numerous times over the almost 500-mile route.

Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Nick Street tells Trains Newswire that troopers will be on the lookout for photographers causing hazards by blocking Interstate highway traffic. Both Utah and Wyoming prohibit parking on all limited access highways from fence to fence.

Wyoming has not planned extra targeted enforcement activities, spokesman Sgt. Tim Romig says, but he underscores the concern about parking on Interstates or other controlled access roads that parallel the UP main line. “There are enough side roads along the railroad’s right-of-way so photographers and videographers should be able to safely and legally park to get their shots,” Romig says.

Two county roads running adjacent to the UP main line are of particular concern to the Utah Department of Transportation. Utah DOT Region 1 Communications Manager Vic Saunders says Old Highway 30 in Weber Canyon and Echo Canyon Road in Echo Canyon are county roads and are not maintained to state standards. These two undulating two-lane county roads parallel the Union Pacific main line for a total of 36 miles,” he says. “They present multiple hazards to caravans of train-pacing vehicles,” Saunders warned. “The biggest hazard is limited locations for safe passing.”

His best advice: Don’t pace. Pick a great shot, go early, get it, and then take your time going to the next location. An exit with a large parking area is at Castle Rock, Utah, and the Echo Canyon I-80 west rest area overlooks the UP main line.

Another major concern for fans is highway construction. In Utah, in early May, work will be light. UDOT’s Saunders says the inside lane on northbound I-84 will be closed between mile markers 81 and 87.7 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. near the Ogden suburbs of Uintah and South Weber. Otherwise, that’s it.

Wyoming, however, is another story. At least four repair projects will be underway when the UP’s historic trains begin run. Wyoming Department of Transportation Staff Engineer Cliff Spoonemore says construction with possible lane closures will occur at the following I-80 locations:
• MP 49 – 57 in the Lyman area
• MP 120 – 130 between Rock Springs and Point of Rocks
• MP 210 – 217 on the Rawlins bypass with two overhead railroad bridges
• MP 330 – 336 in the Buford area of Sherman Hill

As always, good planning, attention to safety, and getting to your spot early is the best thing photographers can do for themselves and everyone.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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