OGDEN -- The west side of Ogden city could look very different in the coming years.
The Utah Department of Transportation, along with Ogden city and the Federal Highway Administration, is studying the 24th Street corridor area for potential improvements that will increase roadway capacity, function, access and safety.
UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the Weber and Ogden rivers, Interstate 15 and the Union Pacific Railroad create barriers that restrict traffic flow between west Ogden and downtown Ogden.
Saunders said the 24th Street corridor has been the traditional entrance to downtown Ogden from the freeway and western Weber County.
It's one of the few east/west roads that cross the Weber River, Union Pacific Railroad tracks and I-15 and connect west Ogden with the downtown.
"It's a very vital corridor to Ogden city and Weber County," Saunders said.
Specifically, road officials are studying the Midland Drive and 2550 South intersection, the 24th Street Interchange, the 21st Street Interchange, the 24th Street corridor itself and the area within the Ogden City Industrial Park.
Perhaps the biggest piece of the study is the possibility of making a full interchange at 24th Street. Currently, there is only a northbound freeway off-ramp and a southbound on-ramp at 24th Street.
In the late 1960s, when I-15 was being constructed west of Ogden, full interchanges were included at 31st and 12th Street, but 24th Street was constructed as a half interchange in order to reduce conflicts with the railroad and other land uses.
Although I-15 has been widened and many bridges and ramps have been reconstructed, 24th Street has remained a half interchange.
"This study will focus on determining if there is a real need for a full interchange on I-15 at 24th Street and, if there is, finding out the best way to approach that," said Brett Slater, UDOT project manager. "We also hope to look at potential improvements that could be made to improve mobility in other corridors within the study area."
In the coming months, UDOT will hold a series of public meetings about the study.
"We encourage stakeholders to get actively involved in this study," Slater said.
Right now the study is only in an environmental assessment phase, which is set for completion by September 2012.
When completed, the Highway Administration will review the EA and will either require additional study as part of an environmental impact statement or will issue a finding of no significant impact" and the transportation project will move forward.
Saunders said a final record of decision could possibly result in a no-build option, where no construction takes place, but if an alternative that requires construction is identified, the state will need to identify funds to design and build the project.
Design and construction could take years, and no exact schedule has been established.