The project includes the installation of 30 miles of fiber optic cable, which could help improve cellular service in the future
Winding Logan Canyon has long been a scenic destination for the people of northern Utah. Thousands of people hike through it every summer on their way to Bear Lake and back.
But for years there has been a major disadvantage in the gorge: a lack of mobile phone connection. Most critically, calls to 911 cannot go through after car accidents and other emergencies, and people often have to drive to both ends of the canyon to call first responders.
A new construction project by Logan Canyon beginning in August could be the first step in addressing this service shortage.
According to Rob Wight, director of UDOT Region 1, UDOT will begin installing approximately 30 miles of fiber optic cable in the canyon. The fiber will also result in more traffic cameras and later an automated sign being installed. There are currently only two traffic cameras in the gorge and the fiber optic installation will be a noticeable improvement.
“The purpose, of course, is for safety and to educate motorists about conditions in the gorge,” Wight said.
But one of the bigger benefits will ultimately be improved cellular service, as fiber will ease the installation of cell towers in the region. Cache County executive director David Zook has been campaigning for improvement for the past two years.
“The biggest improvement in public safety that will result from this project will be the fact that cell towers can be installed and people will have access to the canyon for emergency calls,” Zook said. “Currently there is no service at all for almost the entire canyon.”
Adding that it’s common for drivers to drive more than 30 minutes to either end of the canyon just to get a call in an emergency, Zook said he’s glad the fiber optic project is going ahead.
Wight said the project will begin construction at both ends of the canyon. According to Wight, fiber optic installation will begin at one end near Logan and Utah State University and at the other end near Bear Lake and Peter Sinks.
He added that construction work will be mostly confined to the curb, but that likely means there will be lane closures depending on the area. The project will last through the fall before ending in the winter and resuming early next year.
“I know when we take the lane, it’s always frustrating for people who want to go to Bear Lake or Logan to do business,” Wight said. “Just be patient with us, this is going to be a great thing when it’s done.”