OUR VIEW: North Legacy route a good start

Jun 25 2009 - 9:23pm

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Wetland wars
Wetland wars
When it comes to road building, it is best to plan ahead. The further out, the better.

So, kudos to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Utah Department of Transportation and Top of Utah cities for their efforts in designating a potential transportation corridor if a northern extension of the Legacy Parkway is ever built in Davis and Weber counties.

Ground won't be broken for at least another 10 years, but the Corridor Supplemental Study helps city governments identify where such a highway might be built. This way, development can be steered away from the corridor and limit the expensive, and emotionally draining, process of acquiring existing homes to make room for the road.

After starting with 23 possible routes, officials narrowed the list to six. After presenting those six routes to the public, they chose the westernmost route in Weber County as the one most likely to be advanced.

That route begins near 5600 South in Roy and connects with Interstate 15 in Pleasant View. In Davis County, officials are also considering a westernmost alignment.

Officials told Standard-Examiner reporter Mitch Shaw that the route best balances environmental concerns and accommodates predicted growth. It will have the smallest impact on homes in western Weber County, will service an area with an otherwise bare transportation network and provide better access to trails and recreational options.

One concern with the route is that it may have more impact on wetland areas than the other routes.

That should be a heads up for the Sierra Club to also plan ahead if it has concerns about the route. The environmental group should begin now with coming up with realistic proposals for wetlands mitigation should the highway be built. We need to avoid the costly delays that surrounded the building of the southern leg of the highway in Davis County.

Hopefully, both sides can look at the lessons learned with South Legacy and not repeat the same mistakes with North Legacy.

To us, the South Legacy is an excellent example of how a compromise can be worked out. The highway not only alleviates congestion on I-15, but also is a showcase for addressing recreational and environmental concerns. If anything, the highway pretty much serves as a protective barrier separating development on one side and the wetlands on the other, complete with a bike/equestrian trail and recreational access points.

In the case of the Legacy Parkway, the road to progress can be paved with good intentions.

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