Saunders said the work comes "because we had a number of incidents this past winter. After several meetings with key individuals, legislators and others, we determined that we would go ahead and try to create a barrier there."
Attention to the problem curve came after the New Year's Eve accident where passers-by helped to right a car that landed upside down in the icy river and rescued three children, including one who had stopped breathing and was resuscitated.
After the accident, a Salt Lake Tribune request for accident records showed that 25 had occurred there between 2007 and 2010. In 16, cars had ended up in the river. Also, Roger Andersen, the driver in the New Year's Eve accident, had said in a press conference that he has "probably seen 30 cars in the river at that very location" and was cautious as he approached it.
UDOT said last January that it did not realize so many accidents had occurred there.
"That was not pointed out to us by law enforcement or anybody else as one [site] needing particular attention. We were caught a little off guard when we started to hear reports that this was a site of regular crashes because that had never been made known to us," Saunders said at the time.
However, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry, who is also a state legislator, said at the time that his troopers did warn UDOT.
Saunders said then that there was an obvious communication problem and that the Highway Patrol had given the information to UDOT employees who normally would not be in a position to send it up the line.
UDOT last summer installed safety improvements at other sites throughout the canyon, but not at that curve.