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April 2021 Project Update for Mill Creek Canyon Federal Land Access Program (FLAP) Project

Posted By Regional Development
April 08, 2021

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The USDA Forest Service, Salt Lake County, and Millcreek (the Partners) applied for FLAP and were shortlisted in 2020 to explore a scope of work and cost estimate for improvements in the Mill Creek Canyon transportation corridor. A proposed scope of work and project cost estimate now needs to be approved by Utah Program Development Committee (PDC) in coordination with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) in Spring of 2021.

What is FLAP? 

FLAP improves transportation facilities providing access to, near, or within federal lands. 

Who is Making the Decisions?  

The Utah PDC develops its own process and evaluation criteria. Members include representatives from:

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Federal Lands Highway Division Office 
  • Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)
  • A representative from a political subdivision of the State – the Utah Association of Counties

The Partners have been working together weekly in collaboration with the FHWA Central Federal Lands (CFL) and decided to begin at the top of the canyon and work our way down depending upon funding availability. We are working to identify potential funding for the required local match and possibly completing other projects/options identified by FHWA CFL and the Partners in the canyon for which we have a scope of work, cost estimates, and preliminary design.

What Projects Will Be Completed?

To complete all the transportation improvement projects identified in Mill Creek Canyon, the cost estimate is $38,000,000. FLAP grants are limited to $12,000,000 per project, or if the project is larger, then per phase. Working with FHWA, the Partners have divided the Mill Creek Canyon project into two phases. If successful in securing funding for Phase 1, the Partners will apply for future funding from FLAP to complete Phase 2.

Phase 1 Project Scope: 

Improvements between Elbow Fork and Big Water Trailhead

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Total Project Cost Estimate: $14,600,000
Total Revenue: $12,812,400
FLAP Federal Share: $12,000,000
6.77% required local match: $812,400
Outstanding project funding needs: $1,787,600

Project Not Funded by the FLAP, but is a Priority in Phase 1:

  • Relocation of the fee booth to Salt Lake County property. Consideration of 2nd lane would be included in a 2nd FLAP Grant. 
  • Amount of funds to be raised: $300,000

Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Land Scope of Work

Phase 1 – Big Water Trailhead to Elbow Fork

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Roadway Improvements
  1. Construct 11-foot wide lanes with 1-foot wide shoulders to accommodate cyclists sharing the road through this narrow canyon area
    • Full roadway reconstruction
    • Realign roadway and reconstruct stream at Thousand Springs to widen roadway and to mitigate roadway flooding/overtopping (includes streambed channel realignment and wetland mitigation) 
    • Extend recently installed box culverts to meet roadway width requirements (add headwalls and wingwalls)
  2. Reconstruct and expand Big Water Trailhead parking area 
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Parking/Trailheads and Safety Improvements
  1. Improve Alexander Basin, Clover Springs Picnic Area, and Fir Crest Picnic Area parking/trailhead areas 
  2. Improve pedestrian crossing safety at Elbow Fork Trailhead; with potential advanced warning signage, appropriate motorist warning systems at crossings, and pavement markings 
  3. Install a 2-inch diameter conduit along road shoulder to support future monitoring and emergency communications in the canyon 
  4. Improve roadside safety, including increased sight distance and increased clear zone free of obstructions along the roadside

With Future Additional Funding

Phase 1 will include planning and design of future phases to take advantage of any funding available after Phase 1 in complete.
Learn more about the Mill Creek Canyon FLAP Project at


Contact Toby Lowry at or Helen Peters at 385-229-0844 or