OREM — The road isn't too bad until you get closer to the intersection of University Parkway and Sandhill Road. Then, movement in any direction is like maneuvering through a vehicular minefield.

Potholes yards long and wider than a car's tire mar the road leading to and from I-15, as well as to Wal-Mart and Utah Valley State College.

Utah's Department of Transportation, which owns the road, is aware of the problem and is planning repairs as soon as the weather warms up.

"Because winter was so severe, the deterioration went a little faster than we expected," said engineer Scott Andrus.

An overhaul was already planned for the road this summer.

But until the permanent fix, UDOT crews hope to be out on the next warm Sunday — generally the lowest traffic day — applying a thin, temporary overlay to the road.

The last time University Parkway was regraded by UDOT was before the 2002 Winter Olympic Games — and it has definitely arrived at its life-span, said Adan Carillo, UDOT spokesman.

Andrus is hopeful the University Parkway overhaul can begin in May and end by mid-June. The overhaul would run from Geneva Road to 400 West, the intersection by Krispy Kreme.

"We're going to ... make a condition of the project that (the contractors) get in and get it done quickly," Andrus said. He added the work will be at night and on weekends. "I would really like to get it done."

So would Darlene Burgi who lives in Orem and tries to sneak around the back way to Wal-Mart or the freeway when she can. "It's really bad," she said. "I just figured they'll get it fixed when they can. That's a pretty important road, that's for sure."

She said she's grateful she hasn't been traveling fast when she was eastbound on University Parkway, where the numerous potholes are impossible to avoid.

Michael Taylor of Orem said he was nearly hit as he tried to maneuver that intersection slower than surrounding traffic expected.

"I simply couldn't guide my car fast enough over the crumbled asphalt road," he wrote in an e-mail sent to Orem City Council members and UDOT. "I'm happy there wasn't an accident, but I'm also disappointed in the quality of the UDOT road which most certainly would have been the reason for the accident."

Carillo said they've tried to patch several of the larger potholes, but the hot mix doesn't bond well to the frozen road. That means that any patch jobs are destroyed by the snow, water and pressure from snowplows.

"There's not a whole lot we can do to rebuild the road in the winter," Carillo said. "It's not feasible doing (it) that way."

However, Orem's public works director Bruce Chesnut said city workers frequently do winter pothole repair using a temporary cold mix patch. It's not perfect, but it's something.

And while he says he wishes there was something more he could do for the many frustrated residents, it's not the city's road.

"We continue to get calls about University Parkway because it's in Orem," he said. "I sympathize with these people. This road is in rough condition."

Chesnut said University Parkway is generating the most complaints from residents, but that all calls, e-mails or letters are directed to UDOT, and the agency knows the road is in poor quality.

Carillo said they've put up warning signs in the hope that drivers will take extra caution as they approach the intersection, or avoid it altogether.

"We're going to do what we can, as far as signage to (make) it safer," Carillo said. "It is our foremost concern. We don't want people damaging their property, or getting into an accident for unsafe conditions."


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com