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Green activists, neighbors blast new West Davis freeway plan

State says route will have least impact on wetlands and homes; residents, environmentalists disagree.

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Roger Borgenicht, co-chairman of Utahns for Better Transportation, said the freeway is simply not needed.

Projections show that in 2040, the freeway would be used only between 20 and 40 percent of capacity, he said, while other nearby east-west routes would be over capacity. He believes UDOT should focus on those instead.

At a glance

Public hearings on corridor plan

UDOT has scheduled three public hearings on its West Davis Corridor proposal. Each will have an open house beginning at 4 p.m., with a formal public hearing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

June 11 » Legacy Events Center, 151 S. 110 West, Farmington

June 12 » West Point Junior High, 277 W. 550 North, West Point

June 13 » Freedom Elementary, 4555 W. 5500 South, Hooper

UDOT will also take comments for 90 days via email at westdavis@utah.gov; online at udot.utah.gov/westdavis; and by regular mail to 466 N. 900 West, Kaysville, UT 84037

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Jefferies disputes those numbers and says projections show road sections would be at between 48 and 88 percent capacity in 2040.

Environmental and community groups last week urged UDOT to delay releasing its environmental impact statement to allow looking into avoiding the new freeway by instead improving existing roads and mass transit to handle area transportation needs.

Jefferies said UDOT had already studied such proposals among 46 early alternatives that were narrowed during the review process, but it found the freeway is the best way to handle future needs. Borgenicht said UDOT has never seriously looked at the proposal the groups are making now.

"This is a recommendation, not a final decision," Jefferies said, adding that UDOT will closely review all suggestions submitted during the 90-day comment period. "We know that this affects thousands of people’s lives and it affects the environment. We do not treat that lightly."

While UDOT hopes to make a final decision on routing next year, no funding sources have been identified for the freeway. However, long-range plans envision construction of the first section from Glover Lane to Antelope Drive by 2020, and completion of the rest by 2030.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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