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Like the old gray mare in the popular song of years gone by, U.S. 89 in Sevier County "ain't what she used to be."

She's tattered and torn by multiple state road designations that officials of the Utah Department of Transportation say was done to tie in with other existing roads and eliminate confusion. But those who travel the road may wonder whether the multiple road designations have eliminated any confusion.Only the section of U.S. 89 north of Salina retains its number and continues as a primary federal highway.

From the Sevier Junction in the south sector of Sevier County to Elsinore, there is no highway number designation. From Elsinore to Richfield the highway is now U-258, but the section from the Monroe Junction to Richfield will be changed to U-118.

Richfield's Main Street, formerly a part of U.S. 89, no longer has that designation. Access roads leading to and from it that connect with I-70 are now U-120. From Main Street on 300 North to Eighth East is now U-119.

From Eighth East to Sigurd the highway is U-135. At that point it becomes part of U-24 that ties in with the freeway.

U.S. 89 hasn't become lost in Sevier County, however, and there's one way not to be confused about its new designations. Just get on I-70. It now has a dual designation of U.S. 89.

There's a postscript to the story. Apparently feeling that the old highway isn't ready for the graveyard yet, UDOT asked the Sevier County Commission to take over its maintenance to assure a continuation of the highway's life. But commissioners are kicking at the proposal. They don't think the $750 per mile from the state would be enough to compensate for that much responsibility.