UDOT sliding new bridge into place, starting I-15 environmental impact study

The ‘innovative’ technique was pioneered 15 years ago in Utah, said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Miguel Jimenez, left, and Manuel Robles do patchwork as UDOT completes partial construction of a highway-spanning bridge.

The Utah Department of Transportation is launching its 2022 construction season by demolishing an old bridge and sliding a new one into place.

From April 8 at 9 p.m. through April 10 at 1 p.m., Interstate 80 will be closed in both directions between Foothill Drive and 700 E.

Crews will demolish the existing bridge at 1700 E. over I-80 and slide in the new one, which has been built on site.

The project is one of 175 under construction in Utah 2022, with a total value of $2.5 billion.

UDOT spokesman John Gleason said this innovative technique, called accelerated bridge building, was pioneered in Utah about 15 years ago. This weekend’s construction will be the 25th time this method has been used in the state, and Departments of Transportation across the country now use it, he said.

“The reason that this is so neat is because years ago we would have to close down sections of road for months at a time while we were working on bridges,” Gleason said. “The time savings for people that are traveling our roads … that’s the real benefit here.”

The existing bridge was built in the 1960s and is due for replacement, according to a news release.

The new bridge will provide a smoother ride for drivers and will enhance safety for cyclists and pedestrians with a 14-foot wide path on the west side along with a sidewalk and bike lane on the east side, it also reads.

Gleason said UDOT’s bridge management program keeps careful tabs on every bridge in the state, physically inspecting each bridge at least once every two years.

Those inspections are how UDOT knew it was time to replace the bridge at 1700 E., he said.

“Good roads cost less, and the same goes for bridges,” Gleason said. “The 1700 E. bridge has been around for decades and decades, and it’s done a great job, but it’s time now to replace that bridge.”

I-15 Environmental Study

This weekend’s bridge replacement and subsequent 2022 construction season aren’t the only projects UDOT is starting.

Early scoping activities are underway as part of an environmental study along the Interstate 15 corridor between Farmington and Salt Lake City.

The team is currently working to define transportation needs and understand stakeholder interests, according to the project website.

The team will then initiate a formal Environmental Impact Statement process, the steps of which were established by the National Environmental Policy Act.

They include developing a broad range of potential transportation solutions, evaluating environmental impacts of those proposed solutions, and engaging the public and stakeholders.

UDOT Project Manager Tiffany Pocock said cost estimates are currently unavailable, since the team hasn’t yet made any proposals. UDOT estimates that the study will be complete by early 2024, however.

She said UDOT is initiating an environmental impact study because the corridor is beginning to grow out of its infrastructure, with some areas of pavement nearing 50 years old.

The study’s team consists of UDOT’s design, environmental and public relations partners, Pocock said, and they bring a range of professional knowledge to the table.

“We want to make sure that I-15 is ready for the future,” she said. “So what does that look like for… 2050 and beyond?”

Public comment on the initiative will open on April 11 and will run for 30 days, through May 15, she added.

Visit i15eis.udot.utah.gov to submit comments.

Correction • April 8, 10:15: This story has been updated to correct the address of the bridge and the dates of construction.