Road construction season ahead
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy jokes that Utah's seasons are almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction. That last one will sprout fewer orange construction cones this summer than last year's all-time record construction.
But officials say more than 150 road projects statewide are still coming, including such big ones such as digging up Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon to replace a pipeline beneath it, widening Interstate 15 in southern Utah County and installing several new fancy-design interchanges on I-15 and Bangerter Highway.
Last year, the Utah Department of Transportation had 190 active projects statewide worth $1.4 billion an all-time record including the now-complete rebuilding of I-15 in northern Utah County and constructing the Mountain View Corridor in Salt Lake County.
"Everyone thinks this year is going to be a much smaller season Â and it is dollar wise Â but there is still going to be impacts, and we want people to be aware and safe," said Randy Park, UDOT project development director. He notes the 150-plus active projects this summer are worth $700 million.
"They are more of a preservation nature than the massive reconstruction projects we had last year," Park said. "We plan to do most of this work during nights and off-peak hours to minimize impact to the public."
UDOT says the one project with perhaps the most impact will dig up sections of I-80 in Parleys Canyon to replace the pipe beneath it that carries Parleys Creek. It will also move sections of that pipeline to the side of the freeway Â so future work will not require digging up the freeway.
"It was a corrugated steel pipe that is now more than 50 years old," and it is at the end of its life cycle, Park said. It will be replaced with a concrete pipeline.
"We will maintain three lanes in the peak direction in peak times," Park said.
UDOT is also continuing the widening of I-15 that it completed in northern Utah last summer by widening it southward to Santaquin. Most of the work will take place in the median Â adding lanes there.
UDOT is building two new fancy-design "diverging diamond" interchanges on I-15 at 1110 South in Brigham City and, at the other end of the state, St. George Boulevard. Such designs temporarily have cars drive on the left-hand side of the road across bridges to eliminate left-turn cycles and save time.
UDOT is also adding its 11th "continuous flow interchange," at Bangerter and 138th South. The design avoids left-turn cycles by having traffic turn left several hundred yards before main intersections into a special lane on the far left that allows cars to turn left at the same time most traffic is going straight.
Other projects on UDOT's list of 10 most significant include widening State Street between Orem and Pleasant Grove; repaving US-89/91 from the summit of Sardine Canyon to Wellsville; and extending the new Southern Parkway in St. George by eight miles.
Others include concrete repairs on I-215 between State Road 201 and North Temple in Salt Lake City, and extending State Road 193, the Bernard Fisher Highway, in Davis County.
Park urges drivers to download a free app for smartphones that updates where construction is planned, and any expected delays. It is available at udot.utah.gov.