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(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Department of Transportation Region 2 Director Nathan Le, left, chats with East Millcreek Community Council Chairwoman Nancy Carlson-Gotts near a pedestrian signal at 2940 E. 3300 South. A press conference about the semaphore kicked off a campaign for road safety efforts in Salt Lake County's unincorporated areas, Thursday, June 5, 2014.
Salt Lake County out to improve safety on township roads
Transportation » Projects totaling $8M aim to reduce chance of fatal accidents.
First Published Jun 05 2014 05:09 pm • Last Updated Jun 08 2014 09:59 am

Salt Lake County is investing $8 million in road-safety projects across the unincorporated area this summer to prevent others from having to experience Wes Olson’s pain.

He lost his wife of 43½ years, Linda, in a fatal auto-pedestrian accident just before last Thanksgiving. Exercising with a friend, she was hit by a truck while traversing 3300 South in a crosswalk at 2940 East.

Talk transit in Sandy and South Jordan

Residents will have an opportunity this week to weigh in on a study about the future of transit in Sandy and South Jordan, including the possibility of creating a circulator bus system to connect FrontRunner and TRAX stations there.

The Utah Transit Authority is staging an open house to take comments Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gale Center of History and Culture, 10300 S. Beckstead Lane, South Jordan.

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On Thursday, Wes Olson stood in the background as county, state and community council officials dedicated a new semaphore at the crosswalk where Linda Olson died.

"It gives me a great deal of relief to know it was not all in vain," Olson said later, after county Mayor Ben McAdams and others reflected on the need for semaphores and other measures to make unincorporated-area roads safer.

When Millcreek residents flooded county offices with calls after Olson’s death, McAdams said his Office of Townships Executive Director Patrick Leary contacted the Utah Department of Transportation to see what could be done to accelerate plans to install the 3300 South signal.

That effort worked, with UDOT Region 2 Director Nathan Lee saying his agency’s goal "is to have state roads work for communities. Zero fatalities is a goal all of us can live with."

McAdams said Leary will make sure the $8 million provided by the Legislature through HB377 will "meet similar, important infrastructure needs" in all six unincorporated-area townships.

These projects range from a $2.5 million plan to build an overpass over 8400 West at 3680 South to a $25,000 expenditure to install a stretch of sidewalk on the east side of 900 East at 3930 South.

Besides those projects in Magna and Millcreek, the county will spend $400,000 to improve bike safety along roads throughout Kearns and $500,000 on road maintenance in White City.

Copperton will get $400,000 for road and shoulder maintenance, while $250,000 will go to a safety-oriented study on the Emigration Canyon road.

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In addition, Leary said, $1 million will be used to complete revitalization of Magna’s Main Street (2700 South), from 8400 to 8800 West, and $2.3 million will be spent to install curb, gutter, sidewalk and bike lanes along 900 East from 3300 South to 3900 South.

He said the semaphore on 3300 South "is a clear example of the possibilities that exist when a community engages with their local governments to address problems."

McAdams noted that high volumes of fast-moving traffic on eastside 3300 South had raised neighborhood concerns before Olson’s death. Then-County Council member Jani Iwamoto lobbied hard for the light, an effort that continued when Sam Granato replaced her on the council. Both worked with East Millcreek Community Council leader Nancy Carlson-Gotts to get the job done.

"There’s no bigger responsibility or priority for us than public safety," McAdams said.


Twitter: @sltribmikeg

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