UDOT trying to determine need for full interchange at 24th Street

Jul 18 2012 - 5:58am

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OGDEN -- A full freeway interchange and several other upgrades are likely in store for 24th Street.

The Utah Department of Transportation, Ogden city and the Federal Highway Administration have been studying the 24th Street corridor area for more than a year, looking at potential improvements that could increase roadway capacity, function, access and safety.

At a moderately attended public hearing Tuesday night at Union Station, officials discussed the possibility of building a full interchange on Interstate 15 at 24th Street and making other functional improvements in the same general area.

"We're trying to determine if there is a real need for a full interchange and if there is, finding out the best way to approach it," said UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders.

Currently the project is in the Environmental Assessment phase, which means officials are merely determining the need for an interchange.

In November, a final decision will be made on whether the interchange is needed. After that decision is made, more defined impacts to the public and possibilities for the project will be developed.

When I-15 was constructed in the late 1960s, full interchanges were included at 31st and 12th streets, but 24th Street was built as a half interchange to reduce conflicts with the railroad and other land uses.

Saunders said that over the years, I-15 near 24th Street has become inefficient, with the Weber and Ogden rivers and the Union Pacific Railroad creating barriers that restrict traffic flow between west Ogden and downtown Ogden.

In addition to the interchange, the study team is also looking at potential improvements that could be made to improve mobility in other corridors within the study area, specifically the Midland Drive and 2550 South intersection, the 21st Street Interchange, the entire 24th Street corridor itself and the area within the Ogden City Industrial Park.

Also at the meeting, the Wasatch Front Regional Council held a special hearing to receive comments on an amendment to its 2011-2040 Regional Transportation Plan that includes starting a project to widen I-15 in northern Weber County and southern Box Elder County in the next few years.

The project had been listed on phase 3 of the WFRC's regional plan, which means it wouldn't have been completed until the 2031-2041 time frame.

But the WFRC's proposal would shift the project to phase 1, which means it would begin in the next three to five years.

The $68 million project 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.

Harrisville resident Len Baker said he's against the proposal.

"I'm not saying we will never need it," he said of the project. "I'm just saying I don't think we need to go tearing up I-15 in the immediate future with the amount of traffic I see on that stretch of the freeway right now."

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