Salt Lake City’s largest construction project in history — 300 West — is done

The city added thousands of tons of new asphalt and over 220,000 square feet of sidewalks and bike lanes along 300 West.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Traffic flows along 300 West in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, where extensive sidewalk, bike lane and landscaping improvements have been completed to improve safety and accessibility.

A Salt Lake City roadway made notorious for its seemingly constant construction is finally complete.

The work along 300 West between 900 South and 2100 South spanned four years and marked the largest construction project in the city’s history — and one of the most challenging, according to the project website.

The existing roadway was 70 years old, according to the project website, and over 65,000 tons of new asphalt was paved along the corridor since 2019. Crews have also replaced sidewalks, added a new bicycle path and two new, safer crosswalks at Paramount Avenue and American Avenue.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A bicyclist uses a new bike lane along 300 West in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023.

The city also installed sidewalk in spots where it was missing to improve accessibility along both sides of the road, amounting to 223,626 square feet of new concrete sidewalk and bike paths.

About 202 trees and 2,093 shrubs were planted along the corridor to beautify the street and serve as a buffer between the sidewalk and vehicle traffic. New “bioswales” — which filter debris from stormwater runoff — also were added into planted park strips.

The project was funded through the Funding Our Future bond, which allocated money toward creating safer, more accessible streets, according to the city.

“These transformative projects will allow for future growth and changes in transportation while focusing on moving people — not just cars,” a city statement released last week read.

Businesses hope to bounce back after construction

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Work along 300 West spanned four years, and focused on improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Ken Roderman, owner of The Dough Miner at 945 S. 300 West, said his business lost tens of thousands of dollars due to “the nightmare on 300.”

“The day the cones went up,” Roderman said, “our business dropped off between 45% and 60% per day.”

Roderman said the city helped with a $3,000 construction mitigation grant — but there were times when the business lost that much in one day, so it almost felt “like a slap in the face.”

At one point over the summer, when Roderman thought crews were finished with the roadway, he came in to see the city had torn up the street directly in front of the restaurant again. He was later told that a bus stop was being installed out front — but only after receiving a ticket.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A bicyclist pedals along 300 West, which saw new bike lanes installed.

“We had tables out in front for months. Next thing you know, UTA shows up and gave me a ticket and said, ‘There’s a bus stop going here, you can’t have tables here anymore,’” Roderman said. The patio was ultimately moved to the back of the restaurant.

Overall, Roderman and other business owners said the construction has made the area more welcoming to foot traffic. But time will tell if the businesses can truly bounce back.

“When it first started, it was kind of unbelievable for us [that customers still came in],” said Gregg Chamberlain, owner of Kaiser’s Bar-B-Q and General Store on 962 S. 300 West. “And then, after a while, the business died off after everybody found out that it was hard to get over here, and so it slowed down quite a bit.”

“It’ll probably keep affecting us for another month or so until people find out that 300 West is open again,” he continued.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign along the newly completed 300 West in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023.