UTAH COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Multiple state agencies are working on a project to improve safety in American Fork Canyon.

Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the Utah Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service began installing conduit, fiber and cell towers along SR-91 and SR-144 Monday.

The goal is to improve and provide cell phone service to improve emergency personnel response times in American Fork Canyon.

This work will extend to Tibble Fork Reservoir on SR-144 and to Pine Hollow Trailhead at mile marker 14 on SR-92. Work will begin at these two locations and work backward, down the canyon.

Phase one of this project is expected to be completed in early November 2019. Phase two, installation of 26 antenna poles along SR-92 and SR-144, will begin in early 2020 and is expected to be completed by late summer 2020.

Officials say American Fork Canyon sees about 2,000,000 visitors each year. When someone his injured while recreating, they often must leave or ask a passerby to go to Timpanogos Cave National Monument, or even out of the canyon, before they’re able to call 911. 

“Having cell phone service for a large part of this canyon will dramatically improve the response time for law enforcement and EMS in many cases.  When someone sick, injured or lost, responses that are even just a few minutes faster can literally save lives,” said Utah County officials in a statement.

What visitors to American Fork Canyon should expect:

  • Crews working Sunday nights through Friday afternoons.  (No work on weekends)
  • Lane restrictions and one-way traffic with flaggers.  All traffic will be required to stop, including bicyclists
  • Travel delays
  • Large construction vehicles entering/exiting the work zone.
  • Construction schedules are weather-dependent and are subject to change

Updates and contact information for questions about the project can be found at this website: http://udot.utah.gov/go/afcanyon.