Officials OK plan on $4 billion in transportation projects in the next five years along the Wasatch Front

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The intersection of I-215 and Redwood road is one of the projects that UDOT has identified as one of the 10 big construction projects for 2018. Monday, April 2, 2018.

A plan on how to spend $4 billion on highway and transit projects over the next six years was adopted Thursday by the Wasatch Front Regional Council.

Projects newly added to that list, which is updated annually, range from the new West Davis Corridor freeway in Davis and Weber counties to a new bus rapid transit route from downtown Ogden to Weber State University.

Approval by the mayors, county commissioners and transportation agency officials serving on that regional planning agency’s board is a step needed for projects to qualify for federal funding in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Tooele, Morgan and Box Elder counties.

Approval of the new 2019-24 Transportation Improvement Program came after the council accepted public comment for a month — and received 400 comments.

One group — Utahns for Better Transportation, which has sought to reduce sprawl and congestion — complained that 83 percent of the money was going to highway expansion, and just 12 percent to transit and the rest for such things as bike paths.

“Utahns for Better Transportation would like to see more attention, priority, support and investment given to transit and other alternative modes of transportation as we plan the next six years,” it said.

A complete list of projects approved is available online at wfrc.org/tip.

Some of the projects newly added to those previously approved include:

• Beginning the West Davis Corridor, a 19-mile freeway heading northwest from Legacy Parkway through Davis and Weber counties. Construction of the first $610 million phase from Farmington to Antelope Drive is expected to begin in 2020 and open by 2022.

The Utah Department of Transportation approved the project last year, after years of delay and protest from groups that said it would encourage too much urban sprawl, or destroy too many Great Salt Lake wetlands. UDOT made several changes to its plan seeking to minimize those concerns.

• Spending $75 million on a Utah Transit Authority bus rapid transit route from downtown Ogden to Weber State University. The line will be sort of a TRAX on rubber wheels where buses often have their own lanes. UTA just opened a similar line operating in Orem and Provo.

• Spending more than $4 million to rebuild Utah Transit Authority train engines to reduce emissions and better comply with clean-air standards.

• Spending $637,000 to expand the GREENbike-share program in Salt Lake City by adding more stations and bicycles.

• Spending $4.3 million to reconstruct 1300 East in Salt Lake City from 2100 South to the southern city border.

• Rebuilding and widening 3900 South, including a center turn lane, in Millcreek from 2300 East to Wasatch Boulevard at a cost of $8.7 million.

• Improving congested intersections including State Street and 5300 South in Murray, Highland Drive and 4500 South in Holladay, and 9000 South and Monroe Street in Sandy.