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Building Information Highways to Connect Rural Communities to Vital Digital Resources

CARES Act funding is being used to provide internet access for telemedicine, distance learning and telecommuting

UDOT is in the final stages of installing fiber conduit systems in two Utah rural locations to increase internet connectivity for communities and enhance mobility and safety on Utah’s highways.

Utah legislators allocated $30 million of the CARES Act funding to UDOT to support the department’s focus on building roadway fiber optic infrastructure to provide broadband connectivity to rural communities for critical needs, including telemedicine, distance learning and telecommuting.

I-84

The fiber conduit systems are being installed along I-70 in Millard and Sevier Counties and along I-84 in Box Elder County. In addition, UDOT is extending the fiber conduit to specific locations within the communities to provide Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots will allow individuals in specific areas to get high-speed internet access for their needs.

“Providing these Wi-Fi hotspots to connect rural communities to online resources could not have come at a more essential time,” UDOT Fiber Optics Manager Lynne Yocom said. “This fiber network will make an immediate impact, but also lay the groundwork for a connected future.”

The fiber being installed for both projects will expand UDOT’s Advanced Traffic Management System to improve transportation mobility and safety. It will allow UDOT to install additional cameras, weather stations and other sensors to provide real-time information about Utah’s roads. The projects will also contribute to UDOT’s focus in creating information highways for connected and automated vehicle capabilities.

In Millard and Sevier County, UDOT is installing 117 miles of fiber along I-70 from Cove Fort to Eagle Canyon. Wi-Fi hotspots will be located at seven locations: Cove Fort, Fremont Indian State Park, Sevier, Richfield, Ivie Creek Rest Area, Sand Bench Rest Area and Salt Wash Rest Area. 

In Box Elder County, UDOT is installing 42 miles of fiber along I-84 from Tremonton to the state line. Wi-Fi hotspots will be located at three locations: Bothwell, Howell and Snowville.  

“Wi-Fi connectivity to our State Park Museum has been needed for years and will be a huge service to the public,” Fremont Indian State Park Manager Kevin Taylor said. “We have more than 30,000 people who visit our park each year who will benefit from this hotspot.”

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