New $77,200 footbridge to be built after Mayne, Overson double team Utah lawmakers
Jun 17, 2019 10:12AM
By Carl Fauver
A new footbridge – roughly where the pipe is positioned – will make crossing a canal on 4000 West a much safer proposition for pedestrians. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
That famous quote from former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was never truer than during the recently-completed Utah State legislative session, when Utah State Sen. Karen Mayne and Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson double teamed lawmakers, to solve a pedestrian safety hazard.
Actually, Mayne and Overson had already found their solution. They just needed the legislature to write the check.
“I don’t remember whether I was still campaigning, or it was just after being elected, when I had a constituent tell me about the sidewalk safety hazard on the east side of 4000 West near 4700 South,” said Mayor Overson. “I looked at it, and immediately agreed it needed to be fixed. Ever since then we have been trying to secure funding for the project.”
What the mayor found was a sidewalk that dead ends at a canal. The only way pedestrians can continue is to veer onto a narrow shoulder, on the vehicle bridge crossing the canal.
“I’m not sure how long that narrow bridge has been around; but I know it will have to be replaced in the not too distant future,” the mayor continued. “This is a safety hazard though. We couldn’t wait for a new, wider bridge to go in, to solve the problem.”
Enter Mayne, the Democratic state senator from District 5 who, for the first time ever, served this year as the senate minority leader.
“Before the session begins each year, I go to all of the cities in my district to ask them if they have anything in particular on their ‘wish list’ for funding,” Mayne said. “Mayor Overson immediately brought up the sidewalk problem on 4000 West, and I agreed. I have been familiar with that problem for years and was happy to make it a goal to secure state funding.”
Early in the process, the two turned to City Administrator John Taylor to come up with some cost estimates.
“Our (contracted) engineers developed a design concept with a cost estimate,” Taylor said. “It will be a steel bridge, and we hope the installation can be completed sometime this summer. It will be fabricated off site and cemented into place. The only thing that might delay installation is if we determine we need to wait until the canal is dry again.”
Along with the $77,200 appropriation from the state, Taylor said city officials will have to “take care of” about $10,000 worth of engineering fees. Mayne said that pledge to partially fund the project also made it an easier proposal to sell to her fellow lawmakers.
“Mayor Overson and I made a presentation about the bridge project to one of the appropriation committees,” Mayne said. “Because the issue was public safety — and because the city agreed to share in a portion of the cost — I was pretty confident it would go through. But you never know until the budget is finalized.”
Mayne is also pleased the bridge will serve pedestrians from Taylorsville, West Valley City and Kearns because it is located right where the three communities come together.
At the first, Taylorsville City Council meeting after the close of the 2019 state legislative session, Mayne described the project to elected officials as part of her more comprehensive, annual report.
“You have a good administration there (in Taylorsville),” she said. “Mayor Overson was well prepared when we made our pitch to the appropriations committee. We were able to answer questions. All of the cities in my district work well together and are very professional. When they provide me with information, I know I can trust it to be accurate.”
“[Mayne] is a great advocate for Kearns, West Valley City and Taylorsville, and I am pleased we have established a very good relationship over the years, Overson said. “I feel like we were friends. But remember, this all began because a constituent — actually a few of them — contacted us about the safety problem. That’s the kind of help we need, and I appreciate it.”