Big, pricey future Utah highway projects unveiled
The Utah Transportation Commission on Friday unveiled the next highway projects it plans to fund including rebuilding a key stretch of Interstate 215 in Salt Lake County, improving the "spaghetti bowl" interchange, and converting more stretches of Bangerter Highway into true freeway.
Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, also made a surprise announcement to the commission that legislators may push a major road bill soon to issue bonds to finish even more big projects such as the Mountain View Corridor in western Salt Lake County.
The commission works several years in advance to allow planning and funding of projects. It has already approved how it intends to spend money projected to be available through 2017, but on Friday unveiled its proposals for 2018. It plans to adopt the list later this year after giving the public time to comment.
The biggest project on that 2018 list is one the $84.1 million reconstruction of I-215 in Salt Lake County between 4700 South and SR-201.
Another project, costing $66.5 million, would make multiple improvements at the I-15/I-215 "spaghetti bowl" to reduce congestion.
The commission also proposes a $46.2 million project to build a new freeway-like interchange on Bangerter Highway at 600 West, and another at Bangerter and 9000 South for $49.2 million.
Such a true-freeway interchange was previously built on Bangerter at 7800 South in West Jordan, and one is planned for this summer at Bangerter and Redwood Road in Riverton. Those projects are slowly converting more of Bangerter into a true freeway without signals stopping its traffic flow.
Some even bigger projects might be in store, based on comments by Harper, co-chairman of the Legislature's Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee.
He said he intends to push a major roads bill, similar to the one that allowed local financing to complete the recent $1.73 billion rebuild of I-15 in Utah County and the $730 million first phase of the Mountain View Corridor. He said as old bonds are being paid off, the state may be more able to afford new borrowing for other big projects.
He asked the commission to consider what should be funded by an influx of money, and also to seek input as it meets with officials statewide.
"Obviously, we would have finishing Mountain View Corridor" on the list, Harper said.
Mountain View now offers a 15-mile stretch of two lanes of traffic plus pedestrian and bike trails in each direction between 16000 South and 5400 South. Its alignment is at about 5700 West.
The next phase would extend it north to I-80.
Eventually, Mountain View will become a 35-mile freeway from I-80 in Salt Lake County to Lehi's Main Street.
Most portions now completed will eventually become frontage roads to a freeway that will be built between those now-widely separated lanes.
Harper mentioned that other projects that could be included are finishing the Southern Parkway around St. George, and perhaps adding lanes to I-15 in north Davis and Weber counties. He said his big bonding bill could come in next January's legislative session, or perhaps in 2016.
Layton plans change
The Transportation Commission announced a change Friday that could improve the I-15 interchange at Hill Field Road but delay some work that was planned this year. It proposed to install a "Single Point Urban Interchange" there in 2015 to reduce congestion. Because of that, it will likely delay for a year plans to install a ThrU Turn intersection nearby on Hill Field Road, so both projects may happen at the same time.