On this date nine years ago, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office reported that Sgt. Cory B. Wride had been shot and killed in the line of duty.

Wride had stopped to check on a pulled-over pickup truck on SR-73 between Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort when he was shot by 27-year-old Jose Angel Garcia Jauregui. Wride eventually died from his injuries. Jauregui also died following a high-speed chase and shootout with officers.

“Today, the weather conditions are just like it was nine years ago,” said Garrett Dutson, Sheriff’s deputy for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Dutson has been with the UCSO for 14 years, nine of them with the department’s Eagle Mountain division. For two of those nine years, Wride was Dutson’s sergeant.

“He was my sergeant for two years,” said Dutson. “Myself and my partner, Max Morgan, were on duty with him that day.”

Since his death, Wride has been hailed as a hero by the UCSO and many communities around the state, especially in Eagle Mountain.

Only a few months after his death, the state renamed SR-73, the road where he was killed in the line of duty, as Cory B. Wride Memorial Highway.

In 2018, Eagle Mountain City also opened Cory B. Wride Memorial Park, located near the Overland neighborhood.

Also along SR-73, near the location where Wride was killed, is the Cory B. Wride memorial, which proudly displays two American flags along with Wride’s name and badge number.

Each year on the anniversary of his death, the UCSO honors Wride with a moment of silence at the site of the memorial. Deputies not in attendance also participate via radio on the signal from dispatch.

“Sometimes, being out there, it seems like it just happened the other day,” says Dutson. “A lot of us that are in law enforcement, we do it for the purpose of protecting our communities and doing the right thing. And I know that’s what Cory’s big thing was, doing the right thing.”

Dutson, who helps organize the memorial each year on Jan. 30, is also responsible for the memorial case to Wride that is displayed in the office of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division at Eagle Mountain City Hall.

“His death reminds us of the importance of our job and taking pride in that job and doing what needs to be done to protect the awesome citizens that we serve,” says Dutson.

The moment of silence scheduled for Monday in honor of Sgt. Wride will be held at 1:15 p.m. — around the time of Wride’s reported death.

An intersection that Eagle Mountain residents have requested for traffic signal improvements is now seeing changes.

The Utah Department of Transportation recently began work to install traffic lights on SR-73 at Mustang Way.

Eagle Mountain City Engineer Chris Trusty says this project has been in the works since April of 2022.

“They did a traffic signal warrant study for several intersections along 73,” says Trusty. “And this one did warrant.”

Mustang Way, also known as 14400 W., is located west of the Meadow Ranch neighborhood toward Cedar Pass Ranch.

State Route 73, known to Eagle Mountain residents as Cory B. Wride Memorial Highway, falls under the jurisdiction of the Utah Department of Transportation. Eagle Mountain City communicates regularly with UDOT representatives about the safety needs of the roadway.  

According to Trusty, UDOT has already begun laying the groundwork for installation of the traffic signal.

“They’ve got crews on site right now starting to install the electrical,” says Trusty. “And then, they’ll be able to put down the bases and then they’ll be ready for the materials.”

Trusty says the project should be “pretty quick” from start to finish with an estimated completion in the next six weeks.  

The intersection was the site of an accident that critically injured an 18-year-old man on Jan. 7.

The addition of a traffic signal at Mustang Way accommodates the growth in traffic in Eagle Mountain. Moving traffic along the highway has become a major focus for Eagle Mountain City.

That’s because Cory B. Wride Memorial Highway will eventually be expanded into a major freeway, which will be implemented in several phases. Funding for the expansion has not been allocated at the state level.

Once approved, the first phase will implement a frontage road system running from Ranches Parkway to the Mountain View Corridor interchange, according to Trusty. The second phase will be extending the freeway from Ranches Parkway to Eagle Mountain Boulevard.

UDOT has similar plans for 2100 N in Lehi. Current plans call for the freeway construction to begin on SR-73 after the expansion project in Lehi has been completed.

“UDOT is concerned that any improvements they make to 73 out here is just going to dump traffic somewhere else that doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate that traffic,” says Trusty.

The expansion of 2100 N would allow UDOT crews to expand SR-73 without putting unnecessary strain on other, smaller roadways.

While there is not a specific timetable for the expansion yet, Trusty says that the project is “fairly high up” on UDOT’s priorities list.

It has been a banner year for precipitation here in Eagle Mountain, as well as the entire state of Utah.

After years of low snow totals, the weather pattern has shifted, according to Utah State University researcher and assistant state climatologist Dr. Jon Meyer.

Many residents are asking why Utah has experienced so many storms? Where are they coming from? How does this affect our water conservation efforts? Does this mean the end of Utah’s drought?

The origination of the storms

The jet stream, which is a current of air flowing from west to east that directs storms across the U.S. has returned. After several years of the jet stream directing storms to the north of Utah, the jet stream has shifted. When the jet stream flows over the state, the storms return.

“We’ve been in the middle of the highway of storm tracks, and it’s been consecutive active periods with very little break in between,” says Meyer on the Utah State University website.

Utah has been on track for what is known as the Pineapple Express. It’s a type of winter storm that typically begins as a Pacific low-pressure system spinning near the islands of Alaska. As the storm moves toward the West coast, it gathers tropical moisture from the central Pacific.

The moisture is concentrated into narrow bands which scientists refer to as atmospheric rivers – narrow corridors of atmospheric humidity that is much higher than in typical storms.

“Recently, many of our extreme precipitation events have been related to atmospheric rivers,” Meyer said. “We’ve had a couple of those this year, and that certainly has contributed to the big jumps in Utah’s snowpack.”

Snowpack above average

During the first six to eight weeks of the winter season, Meyer estimates that Utah is already at 80% of the snowpack usually seen by April 1. More snow is still expected.

Very few high-pressure systems have been reported this season, which have plagued Utah for many years, and which keep the storms at bay.

“Our snowpack is way above average right now and we are almost at what we would consider to be a normal year, with still almost 3 months left of snow accumulation to go,” Meyer said.

As of Jan. 16, 2023, Utah’s snowpack in many areas is more than 175% above normal.

According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Bear River is 169% above normal, while Ogden-Weber is 197% above normal and Provo-Utah Lake is 210% above normal.

Even southern Utah is seeing an astonishing 228% snowpack in the Southwest and 231% in Southeastern Utah. There have been periods in the past 50 years where the snowpack was comparable. During the last 20 years only a few have been this prolific.

Impacts on Eagle Mountain

The drought is not over, but there is cautious optimism that this storm season could start turning the tide.

Whether this trend is sustained will be determined by future winter storms and how the water table is affected by the additional inflow as well as the outflow of water usage during the summer months.

Summer and fall temperatures also impact this status. If they prove to be hot and dry, a lot of what has been captured will be lost in the spring, according to Meyer.

“To get out of a drought like the one we’ve been in, you need consecutive positive seasons and consecutive positive years,” says Meyer. “If next winter is not as great as this year has been so far, again we’ll go right back into drought conditions.”

Expectations for water conservation in 2023

Although a positive water year is good, and signs point to Utah having an improved water outlook, reservoirs are still low.

Scientists also have no idea when the next drought will hit. Experts agree that a long-term approach is needed because demand for water will only increase with state population growth.

Meyer believes that Utah will soon see a model shift in its relationship to water. The sooner residents start doing all they can to conserve, the more ready they will be when conservation isn’t just a suggestion, but a requirement.

“The earlier, culturally, that we can get used to the idea of more significant conservation efforts on the personal level and the individual level, the easier will be that transition to a new paradigm with our relationship to water,” says Meyer.

Most of the western United States has experienced a wetter-than-average winter. This has led to flooding in several states, most notably in California.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also predicts a wet, albeit mild, winter for the western half of the United States, with most of Utah experiencing moderate rainfall rather than snow.

In preparation for potential flooding in the Cedar Valley, Eagle Mountain City provides residents with sandbags to help divert the flow of water when it becomes necessary to protect residential and business property.

Due to several consecutive storms between mid-December and mid-January, the City has provided around 1,000 sandbags already this year, according to Larry Diamond, Storm Drain supervisor for the City.

Diamond is anticipating more flooding in the coming months due to heavy snowpack, frozen earth and consistent rains.

“I’ve done this for the last 18 years, and every year that starts like this, we’ve always had a higher amount of flooding,” says Diamond.

Because the City’s supply of ready-to-go sandbags is already low, the Stormwater department is organizing a community work project to fill sandbags on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Community Development Building.

“Properly filled and placed sandbags can act as a barrier to divert moving water around, instead of through, buildings,” says Diamond.

The plan for this community project is to fill between 2,000 and 3,000 sandbags to have on hand in case the need arises, whether in Eagle Mountain or to help a neighboring city.

Residents in need of sandbags can reach out to the Stormwater department on the 24-hour emergency hotline: (801) 789-5959, option 4. The Stormwater department will then arrange a time for residents to come and pick up the sandbags.

To further prevent flooding, Diamond recommends that residents check their downspouts for clogs or debris, and to make sure that pipes are diverting water away from the house.

“When I go out to a site,” says Diamond, “I recommend people actually, instead of just percolating the water in the backyard, try and get the downspouts out to the road as quickly as possible.”

This is to prevent flooding to the owner’s property as well as the neighbor’s property. City code requires that residents maintain all stormwater on their property, so by quickly diverting water into City-maintained storm drains, residents can mitigate the risks of code violations, according to Diamond.

The Stormwater department also asks residents to check storm drains and alert the City if they see any clogs or debris so City crews can clear them as quickly as possible and prevent street flooding.

The sandbag community work project will take place on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the Community Development building, 2565 Pony Express Pkwy.

If you have questions or have a group that would like to participate and cannot make it on Saturday, please contact Larry Diamond at ldiamond@emcity.org or 801-4040-6630.

Early Saturday morning, City maintenance crews discovered water leaking from a Pressure Release Vault (PRV) along Pony Express Parkway.

One lane of Pony Express eastbound was closed, and traffic was diverted while City crews worked to find the source of the leak.

According to Public Utilities Manager Mack Straw, the cause of the leak was difficult to ascertain due to the age of the line.

“It should’ve been a fairly simple shut down, but due to the nature of when this was installed, to my knowledge, over 20 years ago, the records on that line are not as they are today,” said Straw.

City crews were eventually able to locate the source of the leak.

“We were able, through investigating, checking pressures throughout the neighborhoods around the area, determined where the water line was coming into the system, and we were able to isolate it,” says Straw. “Unfortunately, it affected the Sundance and Cold Springs subdivisions.”

About 130 homes were without water from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the Sundance and Cold Springs neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon and evening. The Sundance neighborhood experienced longer delays in water restoration.

Per standard operation, City water employees went door-to-door alerting affected residents of the pending water shut-off.

Straw recognizes that some residents may not have been made aware of the shut-off if they weren’t home or don’t follow the City on social media.

“When it’s time-sensitive, it’s hard to do much other than that,” says Straw.

City crews worked nonstop in the area for almost two days, rotating crews out in shifts.

Straw says that while crews were working to fix the leak, other inefficiencies were discovered that the water department plans to resolve to avoid incidents like this water main break in the future.

“We’re going to upgrade it and fit some joint restraints to stop those fittings from moving,” says Straw.

Due to supply chain issues, as well as making additional preventative repairs, Straw believes the right lane on Pony Express Parkway eastbound will remain closed until Monday or Tuesday. (UPDATE: Streets Department crews estimate asphalt work will take place Tuesday)

“Nobody else will be out of water, even after these other repairs that we’re going to make, it will not impact any other residents,” says Straw.

Straw expresses his gratitude to the residents while City crews handled the situation.

“We appreciate their patience,” he said. “This is an unforeseen situation that couldn’t have been avoided and we’re doing our best with limited resources.”

About a dozen homes were evacuated in the area of Sundance Drive in Eagle Mountain’s City Center on Wednesday.

According to Unified Fire Authority officials, a resident accidentally backed their trailer into their home’s gas meter, causing a leak.

Firefighters responded to the call, which came in just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, to assist in the evacuation of residents while Dominion Energy worked to repair the leak.

Following the repair, residents were able to return to their homes around 4 p.m.

UFA says the evacuation of residents was done as a precaution. No injuries or illnesses were reported as a result of the leak.

Eagle Mountain City is known for its free, family-friendly events. In addition, the City Events department is regularly recognized for providing award-winning, all-inclusive adaptive events programming. That trend is expected to continue in 2023.

The annual Easter Egg Hunt, Community Clean-Up, movies in the park, Summer Concert, Summer Bash & Laser Show, Ties and Tiaras, Halloween Town & Drive-In Movie, Adaptive Trick-or-Treat, Turkey Trot, Santa Parade, Christmas Village and Silent Santa are once again planned.

The City’s annual Pony Express Days celebration will also be held again this year the week of Memorial Day.

The free, Family Fun Night event during Pony Express Days includes a dozen inflatable attractions, Touch-A-Truck and food trucks. Residents can attending this event to play games at the vendor booths.

The remaining three-day Pony Express Days carnival will include a vendor boutique, concert in the park, local talent showcase, food vendors, grand parade and fireworks display.

Dawn Hancock, Eagle Mountain special events manager, says the City is very excited for the coming events season.  

“The City strives to provide activities that fit the needs of all those in our community,” says Hancock.

Here are the tentative dates for the 2023 Eagle Mountain City Special Events season:

  • April 1 – Easter Egg Hunt
  • April 20-24 – Spring Dumpsters Available
  • April 22 – Community Clean-up effort
  • May 29 – Memorial Day Ceremony
  • May 31 – Family Fun Night
  • June 1-3– Pony Express Days
  • June 3 – Grand Parade
  • June 3 – Demolition Derby
  • June 3 – Fireworks Display
  • June 8-10 – PRCA Rodeo
  • June 23 – Movie in the Park
  • July 8 – Summer Concert
  • July 14 – Movie in the Park
  • July 29 – Summer Bash & Laser Show
  • Aug. 4 – Movie in the Park
  • Sept. 9 – Ties & Tiaras
  • Sept. 7-11 – Fall Dumpsters Available
  • Oct. 7 – Halloween Town & Hocus Pocus
  • Oct. 14 – Adaptive Trick-or-Treat
  • Nov. 11 – Veterans Breakfast
  • Nov. 23 – Turkey Trot
  • Dec. 2 – Santa Parade & Christmas Village
  • Dec. 6 – Angel Garden Ceremony
  • Dec. 9 – Silent Santa

More information will be forthcoming for each event.

Additional information can be found on the Eagle Mountain City website Events Page.

Information will also be posted on City social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as event dates draw near.

All dates are subject to change.

With heavy winter storms all across the western United States, Utah has seen one of its wettest winters in 50 years. December 2022 ranked 6th in Utah’s history for snowfall.

In the new year, the precipitation hasn’t stopped – though warmer temperatures have meant rain rather than snow. The weather station at the Salt Lake City Airport has recorded 2.27 inches of rain to date this month.

Through partnership with Utah State University, Eagle Mountain has two weather stations of its own, one located in the Ranches and one in City Center. These weather stations are capable of recording current temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation, dew point, humidity, and solar radiation.

To date this month, these weather stations have recorded an average of 2.28 inches of rainfall for Eagle Mountain. The average amount of precipitation (snow or rain) for Eagle Mountain in January is 3.75 inches, meaning that total rainfall this month will likely exceed the average.

In some areas of the state, increased rainfall has caused some flooding. Made worse by melted snow, rain water has poured into several homes and closed a dog park in the Draper area.

While Eagle Mountain homes and parks have been safe from flooding, some road maintenance projects have been delayed due to rainy conditions.

Rain and snow are expected periodically throughout the next several days, and Eagle Mountain City will be sure to keep residents updated on any changes that need to be made to road maintenance schedules.

Residents who notice roads that in need of maintenance are encouraged to create a request with the City’s Resident Portal.

Recent storms have taken a toll on some of Eagle Mountain’s dirt and gravel roads — including unpaved portions of Lake Mountain Road.

If motorists have traveled this area, it’s likely some damage, such as potholes, has been observed.

Eagle Mountain City’s Streets Department is aware of these issues, and crews are currently attempting to remedy the situation between winter storms.

Sustained rain and snowfall have made it difficult to make repairs to Lake Mountain Road. The City’s Streets department is asking for patience from residents while work is ongoing to remove standing water, grade in certain areas and repair potholes.

Zac Hilton, Eagle Mountain Streets Department manager, says the City is waiting for conditions to change.

“The repairs will take place as soon as weather allows,” says Hilton.

Not only has recent weather impacted maintenance to Lake Mountain Road, but the moisture has also delayed re-painting efforts on certain sections of Eagle Mountain Boulevard. That work has been rescheduled to next week.

Flooding was also reported in the roadway following heavy rains this week.

Eagle Mountain City Storm Water Supervisor Larry Diamond says that is something the City wants to respond to right away.

“Flooding should be reported, as well as calls for sandbags, which the City has on hand to mitigate or prevent flooding, on our Eagle Mountain City Emergency Hotline (801) 789-5959, option 4,” says Diamond.

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the City’s Streets Department was able to perform some grading on Lake Mountain Road. Crews are hoping to make further restoration progress this week to coincide with a break in the precipitation.

For some time, residents who live along, or frequently use, Lake Mountain Road have indicated their interest in learning when the road will be fully paved.

Eagle Mountain City does not currently have plans for improvements to Lake Mountain Road in its Transportation Master Plan.

The City recognizes that many factors, including new development, discussions with the Unified Fire Authority and communication with residents, will be weighed in future considerations for improvements.

Given the complexity of land ownership between Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private individuals and entities, the City anticipates those considerations will require significant time and planning before any action is taken.

Funding of further improvements to the roadway has also proven difficult without the application of impact fees to fund construction.

Meanwhile, Eagle Mountain City is making every effort to keep up with the impact of recent winter storms on local roadways.

The City encourages residents to report potholes and similar road issues on the brand-new Resident Portal.

An action item that came before the Eagle Mountain City Planning Commission this week is generating a response from affected residents.   

The proposal amends the Lower Hidden Valley Master Development Plan in preparation for the construction of new residential dwelling units near Hidden Hollow Elementary School. The land developer hopes to begin construction as early as May or June of this year. 

Several residents have communicated their concerns regarding what this development means for some of the community’s hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the City’s wildlife migration corridor.    

The proposal under consideration   

Before construction can begin, the land developer, Perry Homes, has indicated an interest in adjusting the location and the density of some of the housing within the development proposal.    

While the project originally included a proposal for a variety of multi-family units, the amendment that was under consideration at this week’s Planning Commission meeting proposes the prioritization of single-family homes over multi-family complexes.  

The amendment also makes some accommodations, at the City’s request, to generally maintain the City’s wildlife migration corridor.    

Eagle Mountain City accommodated development plans years ago   

In 2011, Eagle Mountain City and OMR Investments completed signing a Master Development Agreement (MDA) that allowed Perry Homes to construct 1,256 residential dwellings, including a mix of housing types and densities, in the Lower Hidden Valley area.  

Vested rights  

Developers were granted “vested rights,” which allow the land to be developed anytime the developer decides to move forward with a development project, despite future changes to City ordinances.    

According to Cornell University Law School, a vested right is “an absolute right or title to something, to be enjoyed either now or in the future.”    

Eagle Mountain City Community Development Director Steve Mumford says the 2011 Master Development Agreement solidified building in the area.  

“[The MDA] gave [developers] the right to develop their property with what was approved including the road locations, the types of development, the type and number of units and the open space areas where they’re shown,” says Mumford. 

The impact on hiking and mountain biking trails

While the land has remained undeveloped, several trails have been constructed on the property intended for development that have become very popular among residents and visitors for hiking, trail running and mountain biking.  

One resident shared data at this week’s Planning Commission meeting suggesting that, according to the Trailforks App, Eagle Mountain has four mountain bike trails in the top 1,000 trails in the world, and that the Deadwood trail, located further up the hill, is ranked as #567 globally.     

Because many of these trails were built on private property, most of the trails will need to be relocated or removed when the property owner uses their property rights to develop. 

Portions of the trails, however, have been constructed on undevelopable land and will likely not be affected because of the slope of the hill and Eagle Mountain’s ridgeline protection ordinance.  

Mumford says that whether the new proposal is approved, or the existing “vested” project is constructed, the City and the mountain biking community are working to find suitable locations to relocate and preserve many of the trails so they remain accessible to residents and visitors. 

“I consider myself part of the mountain bike community,” says Mumford. “I’ve ridden these trails many times and would hate to see them disappear. I also understand that the property owner has rights and that the trails were created without his permission. I’m hopeful that we can work together with the land developer to relocate and preserve as many of these trails as possible while still allowing development of his land.”  

The impact on wildlife   

When the Master Development Agreement was approved in 2011, there were not yet plans to preserve space for the wildlife migration corridor.  

The proposed amendment to the MDA would make some accommodations for the wildlife corridor by providing fencing and a wildlife passage area within the development.  

The Eagle Mountain Nature and Wildlife Alliance presented an alternative plan for the wildlife corridor at the Planning Commission meeting, which included preserving a 38.5-acre City-owned parcel for a bike park and the wildlife.  

Todd Black, Eagle Mountain City Wildlife Biologist, has been working with the Eagle Mountain Wildlife Alliance and appreciates the developer’s willingness to work with the City to preserve the corridor. He looks forward to adding wildlife fencing and making improvements for the wildlife as soon as possible.  

“I think this plan is a win for the wildlife,” says Black.  

City staff have been working closely with the developer and wildlife experts to maintain the safest passage possible for wildlife to travel through the area intended for development.  

Robert Hobbs, Planning Manager with Eagle Mountain City, says talks have been productive with the developer. 

“The City has been trying to lobby the developer to provide the wildlife corridor some fencing and make sure we have correct access points on Pony Express [Parkway] and a way for deer to cross,” says Hobbs. 

City-owned parcel up for debate   

Eagle Mountain City owns a 38-acre parcel situated near the proposed development. The parcel was acquired by the City years ago through the payment of back property taxes (Special Improvement District taxes).  

What will be done with the land will be under consideration by the City Council in the near future. They will decide whether to preserve the parcel for open space and recreation, or to sell or trade a portion of the parcel to the developer. This would increase the number of single-family homes and reduce the multi-family buildings.

If the 38-acre parcel is developed, only a portion would be built-out due to the slopes of the geography and its potential conflict with the City’s hillside development standards.  

While they indicated an appreciation of the efforts made to protect the wildlife corridor and the reduction of multi-family units, the Eagle Mountain Planning Commission ultimately recommended denial (4-0) of the developer’s proposed amendments to the project on Tuesday night.  

The proposal is anticipated to be reviewed by the City Council in February.