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  1. #1

    Default Salt Lake City Traffic Issues?

    I'm planning a road trip from Seattle to Flagstaff, AZ in September via eastern WA - NE Oregon - S Idaho, then a straight shot south through Utah into Arizona on SR 89.

    I've heard reports that driving through the SLC area at any time of the day is just ugly - horrid traffic and incessant construction. One friend said he'd rather drive thru Los Angeles, a strong statement. He suggested heading S at Twin Falls, ID and dropping thru Nevada and Vegas to get to Arizona. I'm not excited by the prospect of driving thru Nevada.

    Thought I might avoid traffic ugliness around SLC by heading eastward just past Ogden and looping around Rt 84 thru Morgan, Coalville, then down thru Heber City, linking up again with the main route south again, at Provo.

    Can anyone share experiences with these routes? I've never been to the SW before, and would like to get to Flagstaff by the shortest/fastest possible route. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I've not heard of any traffic issues in Salt Lake City that would put it on my radar as significantly worse (or better) than the typical American city, but perhaps some of our more seasoned Utah travelers will chime in on their experiences.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Me neither

    I have never travelled that route but neither do I recall it raising any alarm bells on the forum before. Is it possible they had a one off bad experience or that they left Interstate into the city ?
    According to my mapping program your detour would add about 40 mins to your travel time and your friends would add 2 hours. Of course nobody can predict what sort of delays you could suffer either way but you could keep updated with various Commuter sites.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Even though I have never been to SLC, I have travelled on I-15 a couple of times, both from south to north, and north to south, and it does not stick in my memory as a particularly memorable experience... certainly not the way LA does..... or Chicago!

  5. #5

    Default My own experiences

    Hello Ann,
    I am fortunate to spend a week to 10 days in Park City each January. Our trips always involve a number of trips to and through SLC as we fetch and deliver other visitors from and to the airport, go to the REI store, and go to the ski areas in the Cottonwood Canyons. While we've encountered plenty of traffic during rush hour, it's never risen to Los Angeles, San Francisco, DC/Baltimore, or Atlanta levels.

    There is a beltway all the way around SLC--I-215. The worst of the traffic seems to be inbound and outbound from the north and south along I-15, where the geography of the valley is that it's bounded by a wall of mountains on the east and the desert to the west, so suburban sprawl has taken place to the north and south. If you can time your trip to avoid joining the fray inbound and outbound, you should be fine.

    I would most certainly not detour on the route you suggested, particularly in winter. Much of that route is +2,000' in elevation above the SLC basin, and the snow flies early and often up there.


  6. #6

    Default Thanks -

    Foy -

    Thanks to you for the input about seasonal elevation weather conditions on my proposed "loop", and all who posted feedback. The friend in question may have experienced a particularly bad year of construction down there - he was moving to AZ from WA and likely made multiple trips, perhaps going thru the metropolitan area at bad times of the day, too.

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