With Legacy Parkway shuffling commuters and potentially developers to the uncrowded edges, two cities - West Bountiful and Woods Cross - are partnering to develop guidelines to shape new growth.
"We see that as a new front door or gateway into the city," said Woods Cross City Planner Tim Stephens of land surrounding the freeway's 500 South exit just off Redwood Road. "It's also sort of the last, large undeveloped frontier."
And city leaders anticipate it won't stay that way much longer.
"Without a Legacy Parkway out there, it makes no sense for a retail establishment to put a business out there," said Woods Cross Mayor Kent Parry. "It changes the west side of the city from what it would have been and still is: industrial/agricultural."
Apart from interchanges at Interstate 15 and Interstate 215, Legacy Parkway only has two exits along its 14-mile spread: Parrish Lane in Centerville and the 500 South exit straddling Woods Cross and West Bountiful.
With such limited entry points "it has its own attraction to the area just because of the location," said West Bountiful's Wendell Wild.
The city administrator expects businesses from small shops to restaurants to office buildings will want to move into the area - nearly 400 acres - that now is filled with farm-supply stores, industrial warehouses, pastures and empty fields.
That road, 500 South, is expected to be widened to four lanes in the future.
While development will depend on private land owners and businesses, the cities are considering zoning the area to encourage high-density uses like industrial parks or corporate headquarters near the exit, stores and shops along the corridor and lower-density uses rippling out.
Woods Cross recently passed an ordinance that would require businesses in a gateway zone to use architecture, landscape and design that meshes with the nearby nature preserve and trails.
A similar ordinance is in the works for West Bountiful, which Wild said would likely restrict big-box stores, high-rise buildings and billboards near the parkway.
Those guidelines stem from a plan developed by the five communities bordering Legacy Parkway - North Salt Lake, Woods Cross, West Bountiful, Centerville and Farmington - and county officials to provide uniform aesthetics across the freeway.
While Woods Cross and West Bountiful look to create a new gateway to their cities, others such as North Salt Lake don't expect such changes. Legacy Parkway feeds right onto I-215 and not any city streets in that city.
And Centerville is looking at more of the same, albeit to a much larger scale, in its land west of I-15. There are several business parks, and the city is planning a 230-acre Shorelands Commerce Park west of the new parkway.
Farmington is seeing major development at its Legacy Parkway interchange that connects with Highway-89 and I-15. Though spurred by the nearby FrontRunner stop, Station Park will overtake nearly 100 acres with office, hotels, movie theater, restaurant and shops and cost more than $200 million.
There are no proposed developments in West Bountiful and Woods Cross, but the city leaders say they want to be proactive when those talks do begin.
"We have now an opportunity - a window available to us," said Woods Cross' Parry, "where we can have more of an influence in how to develop that area."