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The City Journals

Vine Street tangled with construction through November

Jun 18, 2019 02:53PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Orange construction barrels will be plentiful during Vine Street’s major overhaul. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

If you live near or drive down Vine Street between 900 East and 1300 East, then orange traffic cones are a familiar sight, and they will be there until the end of autumn 2019. Phase I of the Vine Street Improvement Project in Murray City is part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and is a federally funded local government project. 

The Utah Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project, had already begun preparations for the project last year. Murray City is responsible for designing and constructing the project as per the guidelines set up by the State of Utah. 

One of the oldest streets in Murray, at one time a wagon road from Little Cottonwood Canyon, has, in some places, never had sidewalks or a turn lane. Students walking to and from Woodstock Elementary School at the intersection of 1300 East have had to navigate between fragments of pavement and the asphalt of Vine Street itself.

This is a Wasatch Front Regional Council project, approved over a decade ago, that is being managed and implemented by Murray City. The plans include the addition of a 12-foot-wide center turning lane, two five-foot bike lanes, two six-foot parking lanes, curb and gutter, two five-foot parking strips and two four-foot sidewalks.

According to a Murray City info sheet, work is scheduled to occur Monday thru Friday during daytime hours. Some weekend and nighttime work is possible. Some sidewalk closures will be in place. Lane shifting and possible one-way flagging operations are expected to accommodate roadway work. Temporary driveway and access closures will be communicated to affected residents and businesses before the restrictions.

Public hearings earlier this year generated dissatisfaction from some that the project will cause the loss of mature trees. Other residents argued that widening the street would cause Vine Street to have increased speeds. Beverly Crangle stated in the March 5 city council meeting, “The World Resource Report states that wider streets increase accidents in city’s safer by design. Safe urban design is about reducing motor vehicle speeds. Reducing street widths creates a safer pedestrian experience.”

The project goal is to provide a safe and efficient “complete roadway” for multiple modes of travel, including passenger cars, pedestrians, and bicycles and will also function as a safe walking route for children attending Woodstock Elementary School. The center turn lane will improve safety by eliminating stopped or slow-turning vehicles from through roads, thus reducing the incidence of rear-end and left-turn crashes. Bike lanes will provide a safe space outside of the vehicle lanes for bicycle travel, and shoulders will allow parking outside of the travel lanes.

Doug Hill, Murray City chief administrative officer, stated, “Much of Vine Street is already at the correct width, and the city is working to minimize the impacts to private property along the entire project. However, there are sections where the city will need to acquire property to allow for curb and gutter and sidewalk to be installed.”

Also, another big concern is access to Murray City’s Fire Station #82. At specific points during the construction, large fire trucks will need to navigate the road daily. Mayor Blair Camp, at the June 4 council meeting, reported, “Our departments will be providing constant communication with residents and working with the fire department to provide access to the station.” 

Design of Phase II, Vine Street from 1300 East to Van Winkle, will begin in 2020. The design work will take approximately 15 months to complete. Construction is anticipated to start in early 2022.