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Ogden BRT work proceeds, Washington Boulevard to reopen in city center by July 24

By Tim Vandenack standard-Examiner - | Jul 7, 2021
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Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, pictured here on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

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Harrison Boulevard south of 32nd Street, pictured here on June 23, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

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Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, pictured here on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

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Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, pictured here on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

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Harrison Boulevard south of 32nd Street, pictured here on June 23, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

OGDEN — Transit along Washington Boulevard in the city center should get smoother later this month.

Street work related to the coming Ogden bus rapid transit system between 25th and 24th streets should finish by July 24, Pioneer Day, said James Larson, a Utah Transit Authority spokesperson. The goal is to get it done in time for Ogden Pioneer Days celebrations, he said, because the planned parade route for the event runs along Washington Boulevard right through the area, now full of construction equipment and barriers.

Those who use Harrison Boulevard around 32nd Street and points to the south, another BRT construction hotspot, won’t be so lucky. Work there is only beginning, with construction activity to extend through 2022 into 2023, roughly from just north of 32nd Street south past 36th Street to the Weber State University campus. Motorists who use that roadway section “will see construction for a while,” Larson said.

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner

Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, pictured here on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

BRT plans call for creation of a high-speed bus connection between UTA’s FrontRunner station, Weber State and McKay-Dee Hospital, largely via 25th Street and Harrison Boulevard. The roadway along the route faces dramatic change in some cases, though, which has left motorists seeing orange and white, the colors of the construction barriers that guide autos through the area. The current focuses of work are along Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, Harrison Boulevard south of 32nd Street and the Weber State campus.

Work formally got underway on April 13, and nearly three months later, here’s a look at what’s being done and what’s coming:

Washington Boulevard: A BRT stop is coming to Washington Boulevard just north of 25th Street, which has necessitated the work at the busy location (and caused headaches for motorists who travel the area). A platform serving passengers boarding southbound buses is being built in the middle of Washington Boulevard while a platform for passengers boarding northbound buses is taking shape in what were parking spaces on the east side of Washington Boulevard, roughly in front of Farr’s Jewelry.

Though street work at the location is to be done in time for the Pioneer Days parade, also easing the stress on motorists, completion of the actual platform areas at the spot will continue into the fall.

The BRT route follows 23rd Street east from the FrontRunner station to Washington Boulevard, follows that street south to 25th Street then follows 25th Street east to Harrison Boulevard. It takes Harrison Boulevard south to Weber State and McKay-Dee Hospital, the endpoints of the route.

Image supplied, Utah Transit Authority

The planned route of the Ogden Bus Rapid Transit system from the FrontRunner station to the Weber State campus and McKay-Dee Hospital. Work formally started on April 13, 2021, and should be done in 2023.

Aside from the reconfiguration of Washington Boulevard north of 25th Street, the work has entailed installation of new underground water and other utility lines in the area. Along the way, Larson said, workers found a 3-to-5-foot segment of rail beneath the street for the trolley system that used to ply Washington Boulevard. Per federal guidelines when a find of potential historical significance is unearthed, an archeological expert was called in to assess the situation and the rail was removed and handed over to the Union Station museum.

Harrison Boulevard: The current focus of work on Harrison Boulevard, roughly in front of Mount Ogden Junior High School, has been installation of new water lines by the City of Ogden and other utility work. Actual roadwork is tentatively scheduled to begin in August and when all is said and done, the segment from 32nd Street south to the Weber State campus will take on a dramatically different look.

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner

Harrison Boulevard south of 32nd Street, pictured here on June 23, 2021, faces construction work to accommodate the planned Ogden bus rapid transit system, to be completed in 2023.

The BRT buses will operate in lanes meant only for them in the middle of Harrison Boulevard from 32nd Street south to the college campus. Platforms for passengers will be built in the middle of the busy road just north of 32nd Street and just south of 36th Street.

A raised divider will separate the bus lanes and the rest of the roadway between 32nd Street and Weber State, thus limiting left-hand turns by other autos from what is currently the center turn lane between the northbound and southbound traffic lanes. Cars will have to maneuver at either 32nd Street or 36th Street — where U-turns will be allowed, according to Larson — to get from one side of Harrison Boulevard to the other.

The Harrison Boulevard segment between 32nd and 36th streets will be widened to allow for the change, with most of the extra real estate coming from the west side of the street. When actual widening starts, the southbound portion is to be rebuilt first, with the northbound segment to follow and then the center of the roadway. Traffic, guided by shifting barriers as the work progresses, will be allowed.

The work in the heart of the Weber State campus, where a new route for BRT buses is being built, should be done over the summer. Then construction will move south to around Wildcat Village, a student housing area, and the Dee Events Center.

Larson said utility work along 25th Street east of Washington Boulevard as part of the BRT plans is to start by mid-August. The city has already started installation of new water lines under the street between Adams and Van Buren avenues ahead of the BRT work.

The $120 million BRT project, in the work for years, is to be complete sometime in 2023.

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