A Utah Transit Authority bus rapid transit line with up to 10 stations along northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County is among upcoming improvements in the Point area. of the Mountain over the next several years.
The Point of the Mountain, which includes Lehi and other parts of northern Utah County, is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. However, its “hourglass” shape has created headaches for planning and transportation officials looking to reduce congestion and heavy traffic, while enabling rapid population growth and economic development.
“The bottom line is, it’s a real challenge when you think of traffic congestion,” said Shawn Seager, director of regional planning for the Mountainland Association of Governor.
At a Point of the Mountain Development Commission meeting on Thursday, Seager told the commission that while the counties of Utah and Salt Lake continue to grow over the next several decades, “demands on this stage, connecting these two valleys, will increase considerably. “
Among the upgrades planned to alleviate congestion at the tip of the mountain is a UTA bus line that runs from FrontRunner Draper to Lehi FrontRunner and connects to The Point, which will be located at the current site of Draper Prison. State of Utah, with “other Development Areas.”
The proposal, called a “locally preferred alternative,” is the result of a two-year transit study conducted by UTA to plan a “high-capacity transit connection between southern Salt Lake County and northern County of Utah with connections to existing and emerging development. areas. “
Patti Garver, project manager of the study, told the commission that the project will use the Bus Rapid Transit Standard, which means that separate lanes will be built for the buses and the interiors of the buses will “mimic the look and feel of the rail ”.
“It’s almost like it’s a train on rubber tires,” Garver said, pointing out that bus transportation is easier to build and operate than rail transportation and costs about half as much. expensive.
Project funding includes more than $ 5.7 million in legislative appropriations and $ 500,000 in UTA 2021 funds, according to a presentation by Garver. It also includes $ 2 million from the surface transportation block grant program offered by the US Department of Transportation.
Lehi city council passed a resolution supporting the project on Tuesday, while Draper city council is expected to consider a similar resolution next week.
The next phase will be to “refine” the plan, which will be completed in November. Conceptual engineering for the project will be completed in March 2022, while the environmental review will take place between November 2021 and May 2023. Preliminary and final design will take place between 2023 and 2025.
The commission also discussed planned improvements to roads and highways near the tip of the mountain, including the construction of the Porter Rockwell Bridge in southern Jordan and the expansion of the Mountain View Corridor.
Teri Newell, assistant director of planning and investments for the Utah Department of Transportation, said about $ 1.5 billion in funding has been allocated to such improvements over the next decade.
“So this area… (gets) a high level of investment,” Newell said.
Connor Richards covers government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be contacted at [email protected] and 801-344-2599.