Sugar House residents fed up with 2100 South construction — which could take almost 2 more years

Mayor Erin Mendenhall was late to a news conference about the latest construction project Thursday because of traffic on 2100 South, she said.

“When will it be done?” was the question on many minds in Sugar House on Thursday as Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced the official groundbreaking for the 2100 South reconstruction project.

Yes, the area has already been under construction for some time. But this project specifically focuses on 2100 South between 700 East and 1300 East, and is funded by an $87 million road bond that city residents approved in 2018.

Once complete, 2100 South will begin and end with four lanes — but narrow to two lanes between 1000 East and McClelland Street.

The plan aims to improve and shorten crosswalks to make it safer for pedestrians, and add more space for bus stops along the roadway.

“This morning is the moment where we have ripped off the Band-Aid on 21st South,” Mendenhall said at a news conference Thursday — which she showed up late for because of traffic on 2100 South, she said.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks about road construction on 2100 South during a news conference at Unhinged in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Construction timeline

The cacophony of heavy machinery that beeped and revved along 2100 South’s on Thursday will be the area’s soundtrack for almost two years.

Over the next few months, crews will focus on the north side of 2100 South — to replace landscaping and improve storm drains, according to the city’s schedule for the project.

Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction on 2100 South during that phase.

This summer, work will shift to the south side of 2100 South. During that phase, traffic will still be restricted to one lane in each direction. But officials warned Thursday it could get worse, with a possibility of only one-way traffic (westbound) in a single lane for up to two months as crews work on water lines in the area.

Crews this summer will also conduct utility work at the 900 East intersection, which will cause “lane shifts.”

By spring of next year, work will refocus to the area of 2100 South between 700 East and 900 East.

Officials estimate the project will be completed by November 2025.

“If anyone has driven on 21st South, you know — it is bumpy, it is not as pedestrian-friendly as it can and should be, and it’s something that has been years in the making,” Mendenhall said Thursday. “There’s no way around this ‘orange cone’ that we have out there today.”

(Salt Lake City) Local officials presented a phasing schedule for the 2100 South reconstruction project on March 7, 2024.

‘I feel like this area has always been under construction’

Local business owners and residents have already felt the impact of construction along nearby Highland Drive.

“It’s manageable, because we have to manage it, but it’s just stressful,” said April Pacheco, who was shopping in Monument Plaza on Thursday and said she visits the area a few times a week. “I think [people] will avoid it for the most part, unless they have to be over here.”

Some said they are excited for the prospect of more walkability, but worry construction is already deterring visitors from the area’s shops and restaurants.

“I feel like this area has always been under construction for as long as I’ve known,” said Sarah Soulier, who grew up in Sugar House and uses 2100 South about three times a week. “I know a lot of people have been avoiding it with the construction, so hopefully when it gets done, then people will come back to it.”

Officials on Thursday encouraged Sugar House visitors to “make a plan” by signing up for email updates and calling businesses ahead of time so they know how to get to their favorite stores.

“There’s people behind those logos,” said Sugar House Chamber of Commerce representative Erika Wiggins. “They are families, they are local residents — they need your support right now, as we’re dealing with this construction. Sugar House is open, you can get to the businesses.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Road construction on 2100 South in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 7, 2024.