ROY -- Public hearings have been set for one of the biggest projects in Interstate 15 history.
The Utah Department of Transportation will hold two public hearings on its plan to extend the state's express lane system throughout the Top of Utah.
UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the first hearing is Thursday at the Hope Center, 5051 S. 2000 West, in Roy. The second is set for Nov. 8 at Woods Cross City Hall, 1555 S. 800 West. Both meetings will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In an effort to make more room on I-15, particularly for carpoolers, UDOT is conducting an environmental study on a project that will add express lanes from Interstate 215 in North Salt Lake to U.S. 89 in Farmington, and from Hill Field Road in Layton to the junction with Interstate 84 in Riverdale.
The new lanes would total 21 miles on both the north and south sides of the freeway.
When the project is finished, it will connect approximately 80 miles of express lanes from Spanish Fork to Ogden.
Saunders said concept designs for the additions have been finalized and that final environmental clearance is expected by early spring.
Saunders said construction would likely begin in summer 2014.
There is not yet a definitive cost for the project, but the state has already budgeted $86 million for it.
Express lanes, designed to promote carpooling, are free to vehicles with two or more occupants, but solo drivers who want to use the express lanes can purchase an electronic transponder that tracks their use of the lanes.
Electronic overhead signs show drivers the cost of entering the lane, and an online account is debited as a driver uses the lane.
Rates are adjusted in real time based on how much traffic is in the lanes.