UDOT seeks input on plans for I-15, and 7200 South improvements
UDOT staff and local residents look over plans to improve I-15 and 7200 South. (Ruth Hendricks/City Journals)
By Ruth Hendricks | Ruth.H@mycityjournals.com
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) held an open house on March 29 at the Midvale Senior Center to get public input and share information about plans for transportation improvements.
UDOT has completed a draft environmental study after incorporating analysis from many technical areas as well as public feedback received previously. The next step for UDOT was to seek public feedback on the final draft environmental document. Public input on the environmental study was accepted until April 13.
The proposed project will include the following improvements:
· Adding a lane to southbound I-15 between SR-201 (2100 South) and 12300 South in Salt Lake County.
· Widen 7200 South to three lanes in each direction from I-15 to Bingham Junction Boulevard in Midvale.
· Potential modifications to the I-15 interchange at I-215 to improve traffic flow.
At the open house UDOT employees were on hand with large maps of the various parts of the project, ready to answer questions.
Lisa Zundel, UDOT project manager, said this project is one way UDOT is striving to “keep Utah moving.”
“It will help commuters along the I-15 corridor and it’s part of a larger plan for the future of the transportation system,” Zundel said. “We’ve been working with the transportation agencies in the area to come up with a transportation solution for the whole area that includes transit, roadways, and active transportation, and this is just one of the pieces of that solution.”
Zundel explained that these projects are part of the long-range regional transportation plan recommended by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC). WFRC is a cooperative effort of state and local agencies organized under Utah state law and is responsible for coordinating the transportation planning process for the Salt Lake valley.
A Regional Transportation Plan for 2015 through 2040 has been adopted to meet the travel needs and improve quality of life within the Wasatch Front for the next 30 years.
According to data provided by UDOT for the area along I-15 selected for improvement, in 2016 the average traffic delay during the afternoon peak travel hours was one minute eight seconds. The average speed during that time was 53.9 mph.
If no action is taken, by 2040 that average delay would increase to seven minutes two seconds, with an average speed of 34.4 mph. By building the proposed improvements, by 2040 the average delay is projected to be only 59 seconds, with an average speed of 59 mph.
The timeline UDOT proposes is the initial design phase will continue through this spring. The environmental study should be finalized in May. The request for proposals should be ready to send to potential contractors this summer.
The design/build contracts are anticipated to be awarded by December, with construction beginning in spring 2018. Construction is expected to span two construction seasons.
Zundel said that the design/build process has been used by UDOT many times with great success. The design/build process is a contracting method where the design and construction are combined into one contract that is awarded to a single design/build team.
In addition to expediting construction projects, Zundel said that, “Design/build is a good idea because we can get the proposals out to the community, and we can benefit from innovative design ideas and construction methods that are out there.”
Having a single point of responsibility for both the design and the building of a project can reduce risks and overall costs.
About the 7200 South project, Zundel said, “We’re adding one lane each direction, but as we do that, we are maintaining all of the business accesses along the roadway. We are widening and having to take some right of way, but the right of way we’re taking is just landscaping, it shouldn’t affect any of the businesses’ ability to function.”
Zundel praised Midvale city leaders and their planning efforts.
“Really, the city did a very good job as they developed this area over the last few years to make sure we had the right of way to do this widening, so our impacts through here are very minimal from a right of way standpoint,” she said.
One potential negative impact noted was that the Midvale homeless shelter is near 7200 South and I-15. UDOT planners said that they know people there are dependent on public transportation to get to jobs and services. Planners are committed to making sure that transportation services are kept available for those residents during 7200 South construction.
Details of the environmental study and the project are available at UDOT’s website, udot.utah.gov/i15southbound.