Historic US Highway ends
in and near Crescent Jct, UT

Photo credits: David Shafer; Michael Summa; me
Additional research: Robert Droz; Steve Lockwood

Highway Approx. time period
US 450 (Valley City) 1926-1930(?)
US 450 (Crescent Jct) 1930(?)-1939
US 160 (Crescent Jct) 1939-1970
US 163 (Crescent Jct) 1970-1983

First of all, it's necessary to understand that US 50 didn't originally follow the same route as I-70 through Crescent Junction:

Clasons, c. 1927

Notice how there's a fairly pronounced jog in US 50 west of "Thompsons" (now known as Thompson Springs), going through Valley City, the site of a land development project named for its promoters (the Valley City Company in Indianapolis). At the time, Valley City was situated at a pretty important location, marking the junction of east-west US 50 and north-south US 450. The site is about 5 miles south of Crescent Jct (I-70 exit 180); the view below is looking north on US 191:

Google Maps Street View, 2008

Off to the left was the original route of US 50, heading west towards Green River. Eastbound US 50 was ahead along 191 for about a half-mile, but then it veered to the right along another gravel road that leads directly to Thompson. So US 450 followed today's US 191 up to this point, ending here at its junction with US 50.

I'm guessing it was about 1930 when US 50 was realigned along a more direct route between Thompson and Green River (essentially the same route used by I-70 today), which bypasses Valley City about 5 miles to the north. US 450 was then extended north to the new US 50. Below is a map illustrating this:

Gousha/Conoco, c. 1934

US 50 is shown along the new route (although the old route through Valley City is still shown as well), and the junction with US 450 has been relocated to Crescent Jct. That realignment in itself probably would've been enough to eventually wipe Valley City off the map... but things got even worse. You may notice some maps still show a "Valley City Reservoir" nearby, but actually that hasn't existed for decades - repeated flooding caused the dam to fail, and the entire settlement was abandoned in the late 1930s. Not that its future was ever very promising: Crescent Jct (the modern functional equivalent of Valley City) appears to consist of only two structures. You can see basically the entire settlement on the left side of the photo below, which was taken from eastbound I-70:

Shafer, Nov. 2003

Beyond the town, the setting sun is illuminating the Book Cliffs, which run from Helper UT to Palisade CO, marking the abrupt southern edge of the Tavaputs Plateau. Below is a view from the opposite direction:

me, July 2004

Apparently UDoT renumbered their interchanges at some point: in 1980 that was exit 182...

Summa

...and that's back when this highway was still US 163. It was replaced by US 191 a few years after that photo was taken.

Here's modern signage on northbound US 191 approaching Crescent:

Shafer, Nov. 2003

Note that although US 6 and US 50 are routed along I-70 both directions from here, neither route is mentioned on this signage. But since old highway 6/50 ran along the opposite (north) side of I-70, let's continue ahead:

me, July 2004

That's just beyond the I-70 overpass; in the foreground is the offramp from westbound. US 191 continues north from here by turning left to join westbound I-70, but the spot where this road actually ends (at the yellow signs just beyond the access ramps) is historic US 6/50. So that intersection marks the historic west terminus of US 450 and US 160, as well as the original north end of US 163. Note that westbound US 6 is acknowledged here, but not westbound US 50. That's a relatively new development: compare the 1984 signage at that location:

Summa

To the west (left), the alignment of old US 6/50 is now vacated. The photo below is looking that direction:

me, July 2004

Originally US 50 (and later US 6) continued straight ahead, and at various times three US routes began to the left (south). Today, west from here, the old route becomes impassable where the interstate assumes its right-of-way (the white semi is on the onramp to westbound I-70). But to the east from Crescent, US 6/50 ran along what is now a frontage road for I-70 (CR 175) through Thompson Springs (off exit 185) to exit 202. East of there the old highway is on the south side of I-70, going through Cisco to exit 212. There it effectively disappears underneath I-70 again until around exit 225, where it re-emerges on the north side again and crosses into Colorado. Much of the old road is still drivable, but as you might expect it's in increasingly rough shape.

In 1983, the US 191 designation was extended through here (replacing the northern segment of US 163), and since then this junction no longer marks the endpoint of any US routes (you can click on the links in the table at the top of this page to see where those US highways end now).