RIVERDALE -- Initial minor work on the fourth and final stage of road construction in Riverdale is set to begin, with final completion projected for Thanksgiving 2014.
With plans to replace a bridge over Interstate 15 and use 40-year concrete pavement, Utah Department of Transportation officials "intend to build and be gone for many, many years," said Randy Jefferies, a UDOT project manager.
The project will stretch from Interstate 84 west to 1900 West in Roy and will eat up $28 million in state funding.
Jefferies said the "icing on the cake" is the I-15 ramp improvements that will allow motorists using the northbound exit to turn either east to Riverdale or west to Roy. Previously, traffic was only allowed eastbound.
"It will bring some advantages and significant benefits for mobility," he said, noting the change could take pressure off the 5600 South interchange in Roy.
The project will likely significantly impact Roy, providing additional capacity and turn lanes at 1900 West, which Jefferies calls a busy intersection.
"It's exciting to know we're entering this final phase," said Riverdale City Administrator Larry Hansen.
Riverdale city leaders asked UDOT officials to carefully consider the reconfiguration of the intersection at 1500 West in front of Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
Jefferies said UDOT plans to add a fourth eastbound lane there so motorists on Freeway Park Drive can easily continue turning right to I-84.
"It is already having a problem, and we are not even under construction," Jefferies said. "If it is a problem now, it will be worse during construction."
Mayor Bruce Burrows suggested a straight through-lane at the intersection, and said he would rather kick a pit bull than consider allowing Ritter Drive to become a two-way street during construction.
Jefferies said UDOT intends to keep all stakeholders, such as business and land owners, satisfied as the project goes on. To help with that effort, a business district advisory
committee has been established to provide feedback to UDOT and its contractors.
"From a business standpoint, we understand fears that construction drives business away. We are trying to prevent that fear factor of construction," Jefferies said. "We will provide business access at all times."
To help ease the concern, most of the work will take place at night. Jefferies said UDOT is committed to keeping two lanes in each direction, as well as turning lanes, open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day in the Riverdale area.
"If we shifted lanes in the daytime, we realize it would be a mess," Jefferies said.
Because the city thrives on retail business, UDOT was careful to select a completion date before Black Friday 2014, he said.
While utility work is now beginning, motorists likely won't notice construction until January, when traffic will shift to use one bridge over I-15 while the other is demolished. Traffic is scheduled to resume on the new bridge in summer 2014.
Because of high traffic loads, the northbound off ramp of I-15 will not be closed during construction.
As such, a new temporary ramp will be built just to the east of the existing ramp parallel to Freeway Park Drive.
Motorists will be shifted to this new ramp in January.
The project will also include new traffic signals, drainage and lighting systems.
Both Riverdale and Roy city officials are worried about UDOT's proposal to eliminate eastbound traffic from 5300 South in Roy near the popular Burger Bar to continue to Riverdale Road.
Jefferies said UDOT is still considering options and conducting traffic counts in that area.
"It is a challenge the way the intersection is set up at a skew there," Jefferies said.
UDOT is trying to stay "low key" about the construction project, so motorists and customers aren't deterred from traveling to the area, Jefferies said. Next year UDOT will be more proactive about announcing construction, promising not to detour traffic.
"We want to keep as many on the corridor as possible," Jefferies said. "We want to keep customers coming to businesses."