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Author Topic: Clinching Utah 900 and Utah 901  (Read 2614 times)


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    • Corcohighways.org
Clinching Utah 900 and Utah 901
« on: August 29, 2020, 09:27:58 PM »

As I continue my pursuit to drive every mile of state highway in at least the western US, I started to turn my focus towards Utah this summer as I waited for restrictions and things to ease in California, where I had been focused the last couple years. Like many of us, this has meant taking roadtrips relatively close to my house where I can get out and back with no more than one night out on the road.

After some spirited discussion with other road enthusiasts on whether it was actually necessary to clinch State Route 900/901 to claim a Utah system clinch, I decided that it probably is not necessary to clinch these two state highways in order to claim a clinch of Utah's publicly accessible state highways. But I decided to do it anyway. For those that are unfamiliar, Utah 900 and 901 are designated in Utah as "Statewide Public Interest Safety Highways," outlined in Title 72, Chapter 3 of the Utah Code under the authority of the Highway Jurisdiction and Classification Act. This is different from every other state highway in Utah, which are designated in Title 72, Chapter 4 of the Utah Code under the Designation of State Highways Act. However, the defining language does specifically note that these are SR-900 and SR-901, leaving it an open debate as to whether these actually constitute part of the state highway system.

SRs 900 and 901 were designated by the legislature in 1999 over some existing, often unimproved, county and BLM roads to prevent them from ever constructing a rail spur to haul nuclear waste (thanks US_89 for the correction). The caveat here is that they remained under BLM/county jurisdiction and exist solely as designations on paper. It's probably debatable if Utah even has the legal authority to claim BLM roads as state highways, but I'm not a lawyer. This is the only known map of 900/901, from the resolutions authorizing their creation:

Anyway, I figured it was a nice weekend and I had nothing better to do so I went ahead and went down there to drive these highways. I figured some road enthusiast should at least scout these roads at some point to see what's actually going on. My chariot for the weekend was this rental Jeep Gladiator, seen here on Nevada SR 722 (old US 50) the day before, because I'm not one to take direct routes to places:

I booked a Wrangler because the price was right over taking my trusty old Jeep Liberty, and when I got to the rental car counter they were naturally out of Wranglers and tried to upgrade me to a Navigator before giving me a Gladiator. I've gotta say, the Gladiator is an absolutely ridiculous vehicle. I have driven Jeep CJ-7s and TJs extensively in my life, and always kind of scoffed at the post-2007 Wranglers as being too refined and not real Jeeps. I am pleased to say the Jeep Gladiator drives every bit as terribly as an old Jeep TJ. It's also ridiculously long, gets mediocre gas mileage, and blows around like an empty can on the freeway. Absolutely terrible vehicle for 99% of all actual things people use cars for, but also oddly charming. But, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to be facing so wanted something with a full-sized spare and adequate ground clearance. All I knew is I was going to be stretching the limits of "don't take the rental car off-road," by effectively taking the rental car off road, but on stretches of ground that are legally designated as state highways.

State Route 900
Anyway, I spent the night in Wendover and hit the road pretty early and got to the eastern Delle interchange, where I got started. For reference, here's a map of what I'm talking about when I talk about various parts of SR-900. These aren't official letters or terms - just a way I came up with to organize the different segments.

I was somewhat surprised to see that SR-900 is actually the more difficult to drive of the two. 900 has more terrain and where it isn't clear there is a road it really isn't clear there is a road. The soil is very rocky, so some of the roads that are more visibly roads are covered in large rocks, so you have to drive pretty slowly. 900 is also somewhat uncomfortable to clinch where there isn't a road, because you're up on the side of a hill and very, very visible from I-80, where curious onlookers can see that you're randomly driving a Jeep nowhere near anything resembling a road.

Starting from 900 "A", some notes and pictures:
1) Here is a video of the road. I'm no Carl Rogers so apologize for the low quality of videos: 2) Here are some photos:80 to 900 "B", 900 "B" to 900 "D", http://900 "D" to 900 "E", 900 "E" to I-80

3) This is an easily driveable if somewhat sandy dirt road. Nothing very interesting to see here.

900 "B"
1) Here are some photos: http://corcohighways.org/?p=9921892
2) This is an unremarkable dirt road.

900 "C"
1) (unfortunately only the western half of the road - I put the camera in a position where it captured no video on the eastern half inadvertently)
2) Here are some photos: http://Stub end to 900 "D", http://900 "D" to 900 "B"
3) This is a weird one, and probably the most difficult in the whole 900/901 complexes. The western stub segment is a visible road, but it is very very rocky so you have to drive really slowly. The eastern segment between D and B is much less visible but also easier to drive. A couple wash crossings that require clearance but not overly technical.

900 "D"
1) 2) Here ares some photos: 80 to 900 "E", 900 "E" to 900 "C"
3) This is an unremarkable dirt road.

900 "E"
1) 2) Here are some photos: http://corcohighways.org/?p=9921887
3) This was actually the first segment I drove after the frontage road, and so I was kind of nervous about what I was in for. Fortunately this turned out to be just about the diciest segment. Two wash crossings - both require clearance but neither are particularly technical.

State Route 901
With one segment of SR-901 sold off in private hands, 901 is actually a pretty easy drive. Segments A, B, and D are all just normal dirt roads in a valley, while Segment C is a non-road but it is not all that technical. You need ground clearance but the road is generally in good condition. The soils in the Skull Valley are far sandier than up by Delle and SR 900, so there aren't rocks everywhere and that makes for pretty easy driving.

901 "A"
1) Here are some photos: West end to 900 "D", 900 "D" to 900 "C", 900 "C" to 900 "B", 900 "B" to SR-196
2) This is a generic dirt road.

901 "B"
1) Here are some photos - http://corcohighways.org/?p=9921882
2) Easily driveable for first five miles or so, then becomes pretty sandy and requires some slowing. Should be quite doable in a passenger car with a driver that knows what they are doing.

901 "C"
1) 2) Here are some photos - http://corcohighways.org/?p=9921881
3) This is the most interesting actually remaining segment on 901, in that it's not really a road and has gates. Even still, it's not a particularly challenging drive, but it does require ground clearance, especially at the wash crossings.

901 "D"
1) Here are a couple photos- http://corcohighways.org/?p=9921880
2) This again is an easily driveable if somewhat sandy dirt road.

901 "E"
1) This was disappointing. It appears the road is functionally unclinchable now, and records show that the access to it has indeed been sold to private landowners. I drove down the driveway because I believed it might be a situation where there was still an easement for the road through the property, but quickly came across a series of locked gates. Here's a video of me investigating - 2) Here is a picture of the approach from 196 now:

On the whole, I'm glad I checked this out but also don't actually recommend doing this unless you just really really want to clinch 900 and 901. It's not even that it's unsafe - with a proper SUV/truck and somewhat competent driving you should have no problem - it's more that the roads are pretty underwhelming. I never actually needed to use 4WD. The terrain isn't all that interesting, the roads probably aren't even on the state highway system, and you do need a vehicle with pretty good ground clearance and not much of a front clip for a few wash crossings where there isn't a road - I wouldn't take a Nissan Rogue or whatever out there unless I were okay with getting the front spoiler scratched up.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 04:30:52 PM by andy3175 »


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Re: Clinching Utah 900 and Utah 901
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2020, 09:34:50 PM »

I wonder if this is the first instance of a roadgeek clinching SR 900 and SR 901?
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    • Utah Highways
Re: Clinching Utah 900 and Utah 901
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2020, 09:42:56 PM »

I wonder if this is the first instance of a roadgeek anyone clinching SR 900 and SR 901?



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