Sunday, April 20, 2008

Many Eager For East West Connector

LEHI — With thousands of people traveling Lehi's Main Street to and from Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain every day, a new road that directs traffic through Lehi is a welcome development for residents.

The Utah Department of Transportation held a public open house last week for the so-called "east-west connector" and its preferred alternative. The road will run at about 1000 South in Lehi from American Fork Main Street to Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs at about 600 North.

Part of the project will be included in the Interstate 15 expansion project, which will reconstruct the American Fork Main Street overpass, said Bryan Adams, UDOT project manager. The project, which is fully funded, will cost $135 million. Part of the $2.6 billion for the I-15 expansion will go to fund the east-west connector from 300 East to the American Fork Main Street overpass, and the $135 million will pay for the road from 300 East to Redwood Road, Adams said. The four-lane road will also have bike lanes and a raised, landscaped median.

So far, the comments UDOT has received from residents concerning the project have been favorable.

"It's been surprising how supportive the community has been with it," Adams said.

The people who are affected by the new road are the same people who travel Lehi Main Street and truly understand the need for another connector, he said.

A corridor exists along 1000 South that allows UDOT to lay a new road without much disruption. Subdivisions have been built on either side of the corridor, and few people will be negatively affected by the project, one reason UDOT picked the alternative, Adams said.

UDOT officials made extra efforts to inform residents about the open houses, handing out 1,000 door hangers in the major residential areas affected in Saratoga Springs and Lehi, encouraging residents to make comments.

Reaching out to residents in another way, UDOT asked the children at Snow Springs Elementary School to name the road. Children from all the classes will submit names to their teachers and on May 19, UDOT and various government officials will choose the new name in an assembly at the school, said Wendy Hansen, UDOT public information specialist.

Several of the residents who attended the meeting said that the road is definitely needed and they were happy to see it come.

Lehi resident David Miller said he felt the road was an important step in meeting the needs of the residents.

"I think they've done a pretty good job with everything they've had to work through," he said.

Although he had thought one of the other alternatives would have been a better choice, he said at the open house he decided they chose the right route.

Residents who attended the open house affirmed Adams' comments about a supportive public.

"Anyone on Lehi Main Street can tell you that something had to change," said Mary Street, a resident and agent for Commerce CRG, a commercial real estate company.

However, worries still remain for some. Kerry Posey, a property owner in Saratoga Springs, said he's worried the road will be adequate for two or three years but will be overcrowded in five or 10.

Vladimir Canro, a developer from South Ogden, said he's worried the connector will force more traffic into his subdivisions and cause traffic problems for homeowners.

UDOT is still accepting public comments, which can be given at or by calling 753-7344. Construction should begin this fall.

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