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The City Journals

Open house tackles concerns over Cottonwood Heights' first roundabout

May 02, 2019 01:19PM ● By Cassie Goff

Plans for the proposed roundabout include demolishing two historic homes, which has spiked some concern. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

Roundabouts have been popping up all over the state. In Cottonwood Heights, the city’s first roundabout on Bengal Boulevard is planned for construction in spring of next year. It will take the place of the two signaled intersections approximately 200 feet apart — one at 2300 East and the other at 2325 East. 

On April 18, an open house was held to receive public comment on the environmental impact of the roundabout; specifically, to consider two homes at 2312 E. and 2318 E. Bengal Blvd. Since both of these homes are technically categorized as historical because they are over 40 years old and are eligible for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP), there has been concern over the right-of-way acquisition to demolish the homes to make way for the roundabout. 

In attempts to address these concerns, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Utah State historic preservation officer have reached an agreement. According to their memorandum of agreement, “UDOT shall allocate funds in the amount up to $10,000 to the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee for the publication of a book of this history of Cottonwood Heights. These funds will be allocated before the project has completed construction.”

In addition, Cottonwood Heights plans to erect an interpretive plaque near the old location of the homes explaining and recognizing their historical significance. 

Other than acquiring the land of those homes, along with some land from the LDS church property, there have been no new changes to the roundabout plan, which was covered in July of last year. 

After the open house, city engineers will work through each of the approximate 30 resident comments. They will respond where necessary with possible revisions. After the environmental impact study section of the process is completed, UDOT and Cottonwood Heights will find a design engineer to move forward with the plans. Construction will not begin until spring of next year. 

“People have been interested and engaged,” said City Engineer Brad Gilson. 

The proposed roundabout will be within District 2 of the city, Councilmember Scott Bracken’s district. In fact, he lives fairly close to where the roundabout will be constructed. He has been watching the progress of the roundabout closely.

“I have an interest in this project, considering where I live,” said Bracken.

One of the important points for Bracken is the impact on air quality. The roundabout could reduce up to 100 hours of idling and the relative emissions per day. There are 17,000 cars that use those two intersections per day — which sounded like quite a lot to Bracken, before he spent an afternoon on that intersection counting cars. 

Mayor Mike Peterson emphasized the importance of the process the city team has been working through, and the involvement of residents. “As with anything new for the city, we need to listen to the constituents’ feedback.”

Peterson’s primary concern surrounding the roundabout is public safety; especially after listening to numerous resident comments worried about pedestrian safety.

“We want to educate everyone (both drivers and pedestrians alike) about how it works,” said Peterson. 

When designing the roundabout, efforts will be made to address those concerns about roundabout safety. “We don’t want people in the roundabout,” said Public Works Director Matt Shipp. “We will be putting in landscaping to discourage pedestrians.”

In tandem, Canyons School District is in the process of construction for a new building for Brighton High School. Their plans for the back parking lot anticipate the roundabout and accompanying road.