While the Utah Transit Authority awaits Salt Lake City's decision on building a North Temple bridge, the agency is going forward with construction on a two-mile stretch of land to prepare for a new airport TRAX line.
The light-rail extension -- anticipated to be completed in 2012 or 2013 -- will run six miles from Salt Lake International Airport along State Road 186 and up North Temple until it dips down to 400 West and connects with the Arena Station.
About 10 dump trucks currently are laying a rocky foundation on the dirt near 2400 West and along SR186.
"A lot of it is soft, mucky soil that doesn't hold trains very well," said UTA project manager Matt Sibul of the existing land. While the construction zone is separated from SR186 by concrete barriers, he added that drivers should be cautious and slow down near workers.
Building the portion extending from the airport would be the next step, Sibul said, and generally, construction work will move from west to east.
"We're trying to avoid having the entire North Temple corridor shut down all at once," he said.
The whole project is estimated to cost $300 million. UTA has pledged $25 million of that to go toward building a North Temple bridge with Salt Lake City, an endeavor that has a $65 million to $75 million price tag.
The new TRAX line will include five stops -- 500, 800, 1100, 1500 and 1950 West -- along North Temple before it reaches the airport with an estimated 20-minute travel time.
"We're trying to make it very convenient so people don't have to get into their cars to and from the airport," Sibul said of the project.
UTA is working on two other TRAX extensions in Draper and in West Valley City. A line traveling through Murray, Midvale, West Jordan and South Jordan also is planned.