LAYTON -- A large number of eastside residents are less than thrilled about the prospect of a project connecting Antelope Drive to U.S. 89, citing safety and traffic concerns.
A special meeting of the city council with officials from the Utah Department of Transportation on Thursday was targeted at easing concerns about the proposed project, but residents used the meeting to pepper UDOT and city officials with questions about specific wrinkles of the proposal.
The meeting was the second held within a month to provide residents with answers about the project, which is designed to connect east-west traffic to U.S. 89. A group of approximately 60 people attended the four-hour meeting.
Years in the making, the proposal connects one of the city's major east-west corridors with a four-lane state highway by the development of a new frontage road on the west side of U.S. 89. The project is expected to cost approximately $14 million, said Patrick Cowley, project manager with UDOT.
"This project is creating a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. It's (traffic) already terrible," resident Rick Charca said of the project. He said quadrupling traffic going east on Antelope Drive will only make a bad situation worse. He openly questioned the traffic study for the project.
Traffic engineer Charles Allen said traffic data was increased by 30 percent in doing modeling for how the extension may increase traffic flow in the region. He said the data was collected in June -- a time many residents pointed out when school was not in session and traffic going to Adams Elementary School was not taken into consideration.
Charca and another resident, Gary Barker, questioned the accuracy of the data and modeling. They suggested new data needed to be collected over a two-week period.
Another concern raised was the slope of the drive on Antelope going east, and how icy or wintry conditions might affect traffic and safety. In all, residents have a collective list of 17 concerns related to the project, resident Michelle Smith said.
The proposed frontage road would run north and south of Antelope Drive and address connection points with 2700 North, Sunset Drive, Sky View Drive to the north of Antelope and connection points at 2100 North, Oak Lane, 1975 North and Country Oaks Drive to the south of Antelope.
Antelope currently terminates at 2650 East, several hundred yards short of U.S. 89. The project also calls for a park-and-ride area, with the potential to hold as many as 140 cars.
Besides connecting the two major roads, the frontage road is expected to improve safety access in the region, Cowley said. The total distance of the new frontage road will be just less than a mile, he said. The project is currently in the preliminary design stage.
Big trucks will not be allowed on Antelope Drive, and speeds will also be kept down in the area, officials said.
While it runs adjacent to U.S. 89, the new frontage road will be a distance of at least 35 to 40 feet to the west of the highway at its narrowest point, Cowley said.
Some at the hearing wondered how the project moved from the 20-year plan to being scheduled for construction as soon as next year. They said it would have been nice to know the immediacy of the project, suggesting it should have been moved from the 20-year to the five-year project list, thus giving residents a heads-up as to the project timing.
The project is a combined effort between the city and UDOT, because Antelope Drive is a city road and U.S. 89 is a state highway.