PLEASANT VIEW -- The need to widen Interstate 15 at the tip of the Top of Utah has moved up on the state's priority list.
The Wasatch Front Regional Council will hold a special hearing to receive comments on an amendment to its 2011-2040 Regional Transportation Plan. The amendment includes moving a massive project to widen I-15 in northern Weber County and southern Box Elder County to phase 1 of the plan.
The project had been listed on phase 3 of the WFRC's regional plan, which means it wouldn't have been completed until around 2031-2041.
The shift to phase 1 means the project will begin in the next three years.
The hearing for the proposed amendment will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 17 at Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave., Ogden.
The project in question would widen I-15 by one lane in each direction from 2700 North in Pleasant View to 1100 South in Brigham City and would include safety enhancements.
The entire project carries an estimated price tag of $68 million. The Utah Legislature has already appropriated $12 million for the project with 2011's Senate Bill 229.
WFRC spokesman Sam Klemm said the Utah Department of Transportation requested the project be moved up because of increasing traffic on that stretch of I-15.
"Traffic in that area is growing every year, and UDOT doesn't think the project can wait as long as was originally planned," Klemm said.
"Northern Utah is seeing tremendous growth right now, and we have to respond accordingly."
The WFRC expects Weber County's total population to increase to 363,671 people by 2040, up from 232,228 in 2010.
The amendment also includes moving $27 million worth of interchange improvements in southern Davis County to phase 1 of the plan.
Klemm said the state wants to replace bridge decks at 500 South in Bountiful and 2600 South in Woods Cross and upgrade to two interchanges there to improve traffic flow and decrease congestion.
Traffic in both areas has caused congestion to stretch from the interchanges onto the freeway during peak traffic hours.