Utah 201


Route 201

Length
20 miles

Counties
•Salt Lake

Route Overlays
None

Freeway Sections
7 miles

Business Loops
None

Toll Facilities
None

    

Route 201 is the 21st South Freeway in Salt Lake County. The route was originally used as the alignment for US 50. In 1950, US 50 was moved away from Salt Lake City, changing the routing in the western half of Utah to overlay with US 6. At that time, the original route of US 50, including 21st South in Salt Lake County, was assigned the moniker US 50 ALT. Later, an alternate for US 40 was created and added to 21st South, also.

But this route has a history as a transportation corrisor that pre-dates numbered routes -- and even the invention of the automobile! The inauspicious Donner Party crossed the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1846, one year before Brigham Young led the Mormons into Utah and probably followed a route very close to the present alignment of U-201.

Half a century later, as automobile travel began to gain popularity, the Lincoln Highway was routed through Salt Lake City along 21st South.

Today, U-201 is disgnated as a part of the California Trail and Pony Exress Trail automobile tour routes, as well as historic Lincoln Highway. (I should note that, while the Pony Express automobuile tour route follows U-201, the actual route followed by the riders of the day exited the Salt Lake Valley to the south and is more closely approximated by U-73).

Near the western end of U-201, this sign assembly marks the California Trail and Pony Express Trail automobile tour routes, as well as the routing of the historic Lincoln Highway. The bridge in the background toward the right is a flyover leading U-201 traffic onto westbound I-80 at exit 102.

Today, this route is a freeway for seven miles, but the road is not built to interstate standards. There are short merges and narrow bridges, and the signage, while recently upgraded in some sections, is inadequate. The freeway was built in sections over 25 years. The portion of the route near I-15 and stretching westward beyond Redwood Road, was built in the mid 1960s, while the western freeway sections, near Bangerter Highway and 5600 West, weren't upgraded to freeway status until the late 1980s. West of 5600 West, U-201 has expressway status all the way to U-202, south of Saltair, with a traffic light at 7200 West, and cross traffic at 8400 West, 9180 West, and various access gates on the Kennecott Utah Copper property.

As a part of the I-15 reconstruction project, U-201's interchange with I-15 was completely rebuilt. The cloverleaf with connections to and from I-80 east via the collector roads has been torn out, and replaced with direct connections to and from I-80 and I-15. U-201 intersected I-15 just north of the I-80/I-15 southern merge/split, and it has long served as a favorite bypass for truckers connecting along I-80, despite the fact that its intersection was I-15 was overburdened. Most ramps in that intersection opened on November 1, 2000, allowing direct connections from U-201 eastbound to I-80 eastbound and from I-80 westbound to U-201 westbound. Also a part of the project, U-201's interchange with 900 West was rebuilt as a SPUI, and that interchange opened in May 2001.

The route officially runs from I-80 at exit 102, and passes along the northern side of Magna and West Valley City to I-15, and then along the city street of 2100 South to State Street (US 89). Historically, when U-201 was created thirty years ago, the route continued east along 2100 South through Sugarhouse, all the way to I-80 at Foothill Blvd. However, U-201 has ended at State Street and US 89 since at least 1979, if not longer.

Of more concern, is the fact that the freeway portion of the route no longer connects with the 21st South surface street. One has to wonder if the portion of U-201 which is routed along that surface street -- that protion between I-15 and US 89 (State Street) -- will remain as a part of U-201. It would seem more logical just to end U-201 at the I-15/I-80 interchange and relinquish the 21st South surface street section back to local control -- after all, it's only four blocks anyway. But, for the moment, 2100 South, between State Street and 300 West remains as part of U-201.

Now to the other end of the route...
A view along westbound U-201 approaching U-202. Since the interchange with I-80 is incomplete, use U-202 between U-201 and I-80 to and from the east.

This photo is taken along the expressway section of the route. Just beyond the U-202 junction, U-201 narrows to one lane in each direction for the remaining 3.7 miles to I-80.

The Great Salt Lake appears in the distance. The mountain that appears out on the horizon is actually Stansbury Island, out in the middle of the lake. "Kennecott" is not actually a community, as one might gather from this sign, but the Utah Kennecott Copper Company, which owns all the land on both sides of the road from I-80 to Magna.

One more thing makes this photo interesting: it was taken at one of only a handful places where two consecutive route numbers intersect. In this case, it's 201 and 202.

The interchange with I-80 at the western end of the route is not fully realized: only eastbound traffic from I-80 can exit onto U-201 and U-201 westbound traffic can access only westbound I-80, as the exit list below suggests. To make the other connections, U-202, about three miles east provides a good link to I-80 at exit 104 near Saltair.

The freeway portion of U-201 is between 7200 West and I-15; the sections west of there are limited access with at-grade crossings. The westernmost 3.7 miles, from the junction with U-202 to I-80, is a two lane road.

Route Definition in Utah Code

§72-4-126 (1) SR-201. From Route 80 at Lake Point Junction east on Twenty-first South Street to Route 89 in Salt Lake City.


Control Points

When the new interchange with 900 South opened in May 2001, the control point for westbound U-201 was listed as "WEST VALLY". In UDOT's defense, the misspelling on this sign was a contractor's error, and was correctly fairly quickly.

(Unfortunately, it wasn't corrected before I had a chance to snap this photo!)

Also, note that the eastbound freeway entrance makes no mention of U-201; only I-15 and I-80. 900 West is the last (easternmost) exit on the U-201 freeway.

The new signage installed at the I-15/I-80 junction which opened on November 1, 2000, gives West Valley as the control point for U-201. At I-215, the control destination for U-201 westbound is Magna, but eastbound it's just "21st South". At the other end, the exit for U-201 from I-80 doesn't list any control cities -- it just lists "{U-201}, 2100 SOUTH"; West Valley and Magna are listed only on secondary signage. In 1998, directional signs were added to the Bangerter Highway (U-154) onramps to U-201, indicating "MAGNA" and "SALT LAKE". Given these exhibits, we'll say that Magna and West Valley are the control points for this route, but that there is no control destination for the eastern end of the route.

Business Loops

A view along the old route of US 50, constructed long before the 21st South Freeway was built, and beofre the route was numbered U-201. This view is of 2100 South where it crosses the Jordan River near 1300 West. This structure appears to date from the late 1930s. The replacement freeway, 150 yeards to the south, was constructed in the mid 1960s, and re-built in 2000.
Well, no. But there could be one (albeit short) between 900 West and Redwood Road. In that 1 1/2 mile section, the freeway is located about 150 yards south of the original US 50 route, and the old pavement and original Jordan River bridge still stand. This will be the subject of some future Mike Ballard-type tracing US 50 page. ;)

Lanes

There is one lane in each direction from the western I-80 junction to the junction with U-202 (3.7 miles), and two lanes in each direction from there to I-15/I-80.


HOV lanes

There are no lanes on this route.


Exit Numbering

All freeways in Utah feature standard milepost-based exits. This includes even short sections such as US 89 near Clearfield and US 6/191 in Price. Accordingly, U-201's exits are numbered.

U-201 Exit List

UTAH-201 JUNCTION & EXIT LIST
MILE
POST
ROUTE
JUNCTIONS
EASTBOUND EXITS
Read down
WESTBOUND EXITS
Read up
END
EAST
Salt Lake
Cheyenne

FREEWAY ENTRANCE

WEST
Reno
JUNCTION
The interchange at the western end of U-201 is incomplete:
U-201 can be reached only from I-80 eastbound, at exit 102; there is no exit ramp from I-80 westbound. Conversely, traffic westbound on U-201, cannot go east on I-80, only westbound.
SALT LAKE
COUNTY
TOOELE
COUNTY
SPEED
LIMIT
60
SPEED
LIMIT
75
This is the southern end of U-202, a short connector between U-201, and I-80, only two miles to the north.
7
At 8400 West, north of the town of Magna. This is the northern end of U-111.
9
 
BEGIN
FREEWAY
END
FREEWAY
At 7200 West Street.
11
56th West
56th West
Even though U-172 crosses the freeway on 5600 West, no mention of the intersecting route is made on the exit signage along the U-201 freeway.
13
Bangerter Highway
Airport
Bangerter Highway
Airport
As at exit 11 above, even though U-154 crosses the freeway on Bangerter Highway, no mention of the intersecting route is made on the exit signage along the U-201 freeway.
 
3200 West
3600 West
3200 West
3600 West
JUNCTION
SOUTH
SOUTH
Heading westbound, the two I-215 exits are numbered backwards: in the direction of decreasing mileposts (westbound in this case), "B" exits should precede "A".
NORTH
NORTH
Redwood Road
Redwood Road
900 West
900 West
900 West
 
NOT
CONTINUOUS

Eastbound, there is no connection between the freeway portion of U-201 and the surface street section, on 2100 South between 300 West and State Street. Use 900 West to 2100 South.

LEFT TURN
TO
FREEWAY ENTRANCE
SPEED
LIMIT
60
JUNCTION
NORTH
WEST
Ogden
Reno
SOUTH
EAST
Las Vegas
Cheyenne
 
SPEED
LIMIT
40
At State Street on 2100 South in Salt Lake City.
END
   
EASTBOUND EXITS
Read down
WESTBOUND EXITS
Read up


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This page last updated by Daniel Stober