New group opposes corridor plan

Feb 14 2012 - 7:14am

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SYRACUSE -- The state altered the West Davis Corridor to appease one group, but now another group is opposing those changes.

Earlier this year, the Utah Department of Transportation tweaked one of its final two alternatives for the proposed corridor, resulting in changes that would save nearly 40 acres of prime farmland in Syracuse.

The West Davis Corridor study team refined its Alternative B by moving it farther east in Syracuse, where it will run along a portion of Bluff Road, an option lobbied for by many in the farming community.

UDOT's previous option in Syracuse, which ran closer to 3000 West, would have required 13 residential relocations and four business relocations.

The new Bluff Road option would require 14 residential relocations and three business relocations.

And while the sheer numbers show that the impacts of the change to businesses and residences is essentially the same, the new design means new and different people would be affected, which is where the new citizens group comes in.

"During the whole process, we kind of took a laid-back approach, because we were being told that the Bluff option was off the table," said Julie Burnham, a member of the yet-to-be-named group.

"So when UDOT came to us and said they had made this change, we were completely shocked. We would have been a lot more involved in the public process if we would have thought the Bluff would be an option."

Members of the group prefer that the state keep the road as it was in the original two options, or move it even farther west.

"We don't want a big highway coming right through the middle of Syracuse," said Marva Rampton, a member of the citizens group and a Syracuse resident for 55 years.

"We aren't against farms, but a road right through the city is going to bring noise, pollution -- it's going to impact public parks and schools.

"I don't think people really understand what the impact would be."

Burnham and Rampton said the group will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Syracuse Community Center, 1912 W. 1900 South, to discuss the impacts of the Bluff Road option and what can be done to stop it.

"If that road is built through Syracuse, there's no telling what the future will bring," Rampton said. "They could turn it into a freeway. Once the route is established, anything could happen."

The group will soon give itself a name and create a website, Burnham said.

This summer, UDOT hopes to complete a draft environmental impact statement on the road. Once that is complete, UDOT will submit the report to the Federal Highway Administration.

A final route decision is expected next year.

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