U.S. Highway 6 has been named one of America’s Deadliest Highways more than once throughout the past 15 years. It is a long stretch of road that is a favorite of truckers, tourists, and residents for its direct route to the Wasatch Front’s medical centers, shopping, and universities. Poor visibility in winding canyons and frequent animal crossings continue to make the road a dangerous one, even with recent improvements.
Trent Anderson is very familiar with the trouble that can take place along Highway 6. Anderson is the Police Chief for Helper, a rural Utah town of 2,171 people nestled next to the highway at the mouth of a narrow canyon. As the man who primarily responds to emergencies in his area, Anderson knows it is essential to have vehicles that can quickly and safely reach citizens in trouble. Helper had two police trooper vehicles to do the job but they were in need of repairs so often they weren’t useful to officers. The vehicles had to be replaced.
A problem was discovered quickly after realizing the city’s needs. “We’re a six-man department and my city doesn’t even have a budget for vehicles,” Anderson explained. To seek funding assistance, Anderson contacted USDA Rural Development and applied for and received a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant to purchase two new emergency response vehicles for the City of Helper. “We couldn’t have gotten the vehicles without USDA,” said Anderson.
The two vehicles are equipped with four-wheel drive and the latest technology to handle extreme terrain and weather conditions.“Our city limits are small but we still assist people who need help in the canyon,” Anderson said. “There have been times we have been able to assist other agencies who don’t necessarily have the equipment to respond to emergencies.” With a better-equipped police department, the streets of Helper are safer, as is the stretch of U.S. Highway 6 once deemed one of America’s Deadliest.