OGDEN -- Utah Department of Transportation officials say they will bend their own rules to help those impacted by the Ogden Canyon waterline project. As Ogden city continues work to replace the 100-year-old waterline that meanders through the canyon, nightly road closures, delays, water shutdowns and plenty of congestion on the narrow arterial have inconvenienced Ogden Valley businesses and residents for much of the past five months.
And while those stakeholders say they're anxious to see the road clear as soon as possible, UDOT Region One Director Kris Peterson says he has the solution to do just that.
Peterson approached the Utah Transportation Commission on Friday morning for approval to use the same contractor Ogden city will use to repair the torn up canyon road, for a similar UDOT project that has existed on the state's to-do list for some time.
Ogden city is scheduled to finish their waterline project on June 1, after which Granite Construction will repair the canyon road, but only where it has been damaged by the installation of the waterline.
"Essentially, they are only going to repair half of the road," Peterson said. "So if we don't do anything, it would look like half of a new road until we went in and did our work."
Because of that fact, Peterson said the timing is perfect for UDOT to complete a separate $600,000 pavement treatment project on the road.
The project has been planned for some time, and the state originally considered doing the work after Ogden city finished its work -- a move that could have kept the canyon road under construction even further into the summer or beyond.
"It's time for a (pavement) treatment as it is," Peterson said, "so it only makes sense that we match what they are doing and use the same contractor."
But that option means UDOT will hand-select a contractor to perform the project, instead of its usual procedure of awarding a project to the lowest bidder among a group of interested contractors.
"It's something we don't usually do, but it's in our authority to do it," said UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras. "The contracting industry doesn't like us to do it, but the driving factor here is minimizing the impact to the public."
Peterson also said that pavement projects in the canyon are tricky because shade and cooler temperatures can prevent the pavement from setting right.
"It has to be a certain temperature for us to lay the pavement," he said. "If we were to wait on this project, we might not hit that pavement window if there are any delays."
Peterson said the road also needs to we widened, but that's potentially a $500 million project and won't happen anytime soon.