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Critics of West Davis freeway route say country club swayed UDOT

West Davis Corridor » Highway officials deny they gave Oakridge special treatment to avoid disrupting golf course.

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Success » When UDOT selected its preferred alternative, one of the reasons highlighted was that it would avoid impacts on Oakridge Country Club.

The EIS noted the rejected Shepard Lane option would have forced the club to relocate at least one and up to three golf holes, "which UDOT considers to be a substantial business impact." It added the club said that "could lead to lower club membership, which could negatively affect the residential community surrounding the golf course."

At a glance

West Davis Corridor Highway

UDOT is in a 90-day comment period on its draft EIS and preferred route. It hopes to make final decisions next year. No funding has yet been identified for the proposed freeway. However, long-range plans envision construction of the first section from Glover Lane to Antelope Drive by 2020, and completion of the rest to Hooper by 2030.

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Kalt said she found it "very odd" that UDOT would cite such an issue in its decision, "especially considering the country club is not a publicly owned facility."

She added, "It does seem that having more money and your position in society do somewhat affect [government] decisions."

Jensen, the club’s general manager, said it fought hard to protect its property, but within the bounds of the law and propriety. In the end, though, he said he figures the club’s arguments had little to do with the final decision and that other issues were bigger.

"I think it boiled down to cost. The Glover Lane route was something like $40 million less expensive," he said. "The majority of those expenses, if I read and heard right, was the realignment of the railroad."

He added, "I don’t think that UDOT or the Federal Highway Administration would save Oakridge Country Club" because of pressure. "I think they are going to put the highway where the highway best fits what the public needs."

UDOT’s Jefferies said meetings with Oakridge to try to reduce impacts were typical of those the agency held with many businesses and homeowners.

While acknowledging impact to the golf course was one reason UDOT chose Glover Lane over Shepard Lane, he said it was just one of many.

Jefferies said those included "impact on homes, dividing neighborhoods, relocating the railroad and FrontRunner, impacts to Haight Creek, historic properties and trails."

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