Consumers who crack the new US WEST Dex directories that land on their doorsteps in the Salt Lake metro area beginning this week will find some new twists to the old phone book.

Some 1.3 million books are being delivered with new U.S. government Blue Pages and White Pages with only three columns per page, rather than the traditional four. The White Pages will also begin to show ZIP codes in a column format.The White Pages sport a new typeface, which US WEST Dex says is easier to read. They've combined that with the new column format and ZIP codes which they say make the directories easier to scan.

The Salt Lake City directory is one of the first directories in the 14 Western and Midwestern states to include a new U.S. government Blue Pages section which features color icons, Web site and Internet addresses and 800 and local phone numbers for federal government agencies.

For example, there are many more topic headings such as "advertising" or "antitrust information" which help consumers get to agencies which deal with regulation in those areas more easily.

A US WEST Dex news release says these improvements should make it easier for residents to find government resources. The changes were made as a result of a partnership between the firm and the federal government, and fulfills part of the Clinton-Gore initiative to increase government accessibility and consumer service.

The Information Guide at the front the new directory also provides codes to access audio messages on topics ranging from news, weather and sports to horoscopes, soap opera updates and legal information. A special code - 2002 - has been assigned to the 2002 Winter Games and will provide updates on Olympic plans and venues. US WEST Dex encourages residents to recycle old phone books in receptacles placed around the valley.