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Proposed new road could relieve traffic congestion in Taylorsville

Aug 31, 2017 04:45PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

This Taylorsville intersection (2700 West and 4700 South) will get some traffic relief if a proposed belt route frontage road is constructed nearby. (Carl Fauver)

Gallery: Traffic [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

Traffic research indicates one of the busiest and slowest places in the state for drivers is the intersection of 2700 West and 4700 South.

But Utah Department of Transportation project manager Oanh Le-Spradlin is making it her mission to do something about it once and for all.

 “This is my third UDOT project trying to deal with the traffic problems in that area,” Le-Spradlin said. “We have considered reworking the intersection or widening one of the streets, or both. But with gas stations, a church, a grocery store and many other businesses at that intersection, we just haven’t found a good solution yet.”

So now, instead of changing the intersection — or the approaching roadways — UDOT officials are focused on constructing a new freeway frontage road to shift some of the traffic off 2700 West entirely.

The UDOT effort is just now in the study phase. But so far, Taylorsville Economic Development Director Wayne Harper likes what he’s hearing.

“Studies show, 2700 West, 4700 South is the second-most congested intersection in Utah,” Harper said. “We’ve known for a long time that something needs to be done there. I’m happy this is now a UDOT priority. They’ve had success with the previous section of frontage road they installed. Hopefully, the same will happen with this one.”

That previous section of frontage road is directly west of I-215, from 3500 to 3800 South, primarily between the freeway and Valley Fair Mall.

The proposed new section of frontage road would also be directly west of the belt route, from 4100 to 4700 South. Like the other section, it will be only one way, southbound.

“There are several homes and structures up next to the freeway, making a frontage road from 3800 to 4100 South very difficult to construct,” Harper added. “But this next section (4100 to 4700 South) would certainly help reduce the congestion on 2700 West in that area. Then maybe the two sections could be tied together (with a new frontage road from 3800 to 4100 South) at some later date.”

Le-Spradlin agrees with the assessment regarding 3800 to 4100 South.

“If I lived in that area (3800 South to 4100 South, west of I-215), I wouldn’t be nervous (about a road going in),” she said. “We would first have to show the benefit would outweigh the cost (of removing several homes). No one is pushing for that right now.”

The three-block section of frontage road east of the mall was completed about six years ago. Le-Spradlin was also the project manager for that.

“It cost about $10 million and took three years to complete, counting study and design time,” Le-Spradlin said. “We would expect this new section of frontage road to cost about $2 million more than that and take a little longer to complete. But even though it would be twice as long as the current section, we would not expect it to be twice as expensive, or take twice the time to finish.” 

UDOT officials said the first step is to complete an environmental study. 

“We expect the cost of the study to be about $600,000,” Le-Spradlin said. “It will determine what impact a new road would have in the area. Would it adversely affect any historically significant land? How much noise would the traffic create? Those are the questions we need answered before moving forward.”

That completed study will be subject to both state and federal review. If legislators determine the frontage road plan is worthwhile, alternate roadway designs will be drawn up.

“All of this preliminary work would lead to a public comment period, once designs are completed,” Le-Spradlin said. “If everything goes well, that could happen as soon as next spring.” 

One attractive thing about the proposed frontage road is that little, if any, land would need to be purchased, because UDOT already has an easement through the area.

“We expect the road to be two lanes, but possibly only one if space is a problem,” Le-Spradlin said. “Designers will provide us with choices to consider, and for the public to weigh in on.”

There’s no timeline yet on when road construction would begin or end.

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