A historic foundation that was uncovered last spring has stalled work on the widening of U-224 between Snyderville and Park City.
The foundation is believed to belong to a home of one of the first settlers in the Park City Area.The project was already in danger of being delayed because the owner of a local dairy farm opposed Utah Department of Transportation plans to set aside his pasture for wetlands to meet a federal environmental requirement.
The Utah Transportation Commission was told Friday that the Federal Highway Administration had ordered a new public hearing on the project to hear concerns about both the archaeological finds and the proposed wetlands.
The decision takes into account both the threat of a lawsuit by D.A. Osguthorpe as well as the federal government's finding that the foundation is considered historically significant enough to warrant further study.
Transportation Commission Chairman Sam Taylor said the foundation was uncovered last spring by surveyors who were using earth-moving equipment but that its significance was not known until the finding was announced this week.
According to Kenny Winpch, Utah Department of Transportation archaeologist, the foundation could also contain a gristmill operated by the founder of Snyderville, Samuel Snyder.
Other artifacts from the community, which was settled in the 1850s, include a buggy road and remnants of a fort. There are also two homes built toward the end of the heyday of silver mining that would be affected by the road, he said.
Winpch said the artifacts will be inventoried and then a recommendation will be made on whether they should be moved or whether the road should be re-routed.
Osguthorpe has wrangled with UDOT for months over the agency's plans to purchase pasture used to water his dairy cows to compensate for other wetlands that will be destroyed by the road.
The pasture would have to be fenced off from the cows and returned to its pristine state to meet federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements. UDOT would compensate by providing another type of water supply.
Osguthorpe has said the 45-year-old family business would be ruined without access to the creek running through the pasture and has threatened to take his case to court.
The public hearing has not been scheduled but will not be held until March at the earliest because of notification requirements. Construction, scheduled to begin in the the spring, will be delayed about six to eight months.