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Erin Hooley, Associated Press
The Pentz family cattle drive has taken place for years, but concern over safety is growing.

MORGAN — A stretch of I-84 is the really, really slow lane once a year.

A Morgan County family drives its cattle from one ranch to another annually, and there is no getting around the freeway, which the cattle tread for about half a day as the ranchers control traffic.

The Utah Department of Transportation doesn't like it, and neither does the Pentz family, but they say there are few other options.

"First of all, it's a way to get our cattle from point A to point B, but it's also kind of a historical thing for us," rancher Lane Pentz said. "We have been doing it for three generations, before the highway even came through here, but it gets tougher and tougher every year."

The Pentzes have been driving cattle through northern Utah since the area was open range. They still managed through fences and other developments but are stuck by I-84. With 400 head of beef cattle, the family doesn't want to truck the herd the 14 miles between ranches.

It's a four-day journey, but the family says only about half of one day is spent on the freeway.

The state opposes the freeway cattle drive, and the Utah Department of Transportation and the family are trying to come up with a compromise.

"Something has to happen sooner or later. It's getting dangerous," said Pentz, who said a designated livestock trail next to the freeway would be an option.

UDOT regional spokesman Vic Saunders said negotiations were still in the early stages, but they hope to come up with a resolution by next season.

"We want to try and work this out with them the best we can but also maintain safety," Saunders said. "Cows and cars just don't mix."