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UINTAH HIGHWAY TO GET $1.5 MILLION WELCOME CENTER

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Bids are being sought for a $1.5 million welcome center to be built on U.S. 40, 18 miles from the Colorado border.

J.D. Chamberlain, director of engineering services for the Utah Department of Transportation, said the project will probably be awarded this fall, with an eye toward completion in 1996.The center will be staffed seven days a week and feature displays on a rugged corner of Utah known by state travel promoters as "Dinosaurland."

The Utah Transportation Commission originally balked at the cost of the project, but acquiesced after Uintah County residents said it would contribute considerably to the local economy.

Though municipal leaders in nearby Vernal originally wanted the center built inside their city limits, the federal government - which ultimately underwrites such projects - has guidelines on location and surroundings that require a more rural location.

It will be the state's fifth welcome center. Utah has such stops on I-15 at St. George, on I-70 at Thompson Springs in Grand County, on I-80 at Echo Junction in Morgan County and near the intersection of I-15 and I-84 at Brigham City.