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Proposed transportation bond plan would benefit Weber County, Northern Utah

By Tim Vandenack Standard-Examiner - | Mar 2, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to bond up to $1.4 billion for a mix of road and other projects across Utah would bode for smoother traffic flow in and around Roy.

The massive measure, House Bill 433, will benefit Weber County and Northern Utah in other ways, too, proponents say.

HB433, sponsored by Utah Rep. Mike Schultz, a Hooper Republican, earmarks funding for improvements to the busy Interstate 15-5600 South interchange in Roy. That’s a key gateway to Hill Air Force Base and the growing Roy Innovation Center, taking shape nearby to support Northrop Grumman’s work with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program.

“This 433 program will accelerate 5600,” said Rep. Stephen Handy, a Layton Republican.

The bill also earmarks funds for the widening of 3500 West through Roy south into Davis County, where the road changes names to 2000 West. The widening would continue south to 300 North in West Point, according to Roy Mayor Bob Dandoy. That sort of upgrade has “been needed for so, so long,” he said, noting the heavy traffic on the north-south corridor.

Schultz said the measure also calls for improvements to I-15 from Farmington south to 600 North in Salt Lake City, which will benefit motorists from points further north, including Weber County. With planned upgrades in the works to two key corridors heading from Weber County south to the Farmington area, the upgrades to I-15, if completed, will keep traffic flowing as it continues further south into Salt Lake City.

The West Davis Corridor is coming to Davis County and U.S. 89 is getting a massive upgrade from the Weber County line through Davis County, and they’ll both “dump more traffic into the Farmington area,” Schultz said. Upgrading I-15 south from Farmington will enable the interstate to accommodate the traffic into the capital.

HB433 received a favorable 9-0 recommendation from the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee last week, and Schultz is optimistic about its prospects, even as the 2021 legislative session winds down.

“We’ll get it done,” he said. The timeline for completion of the projects outlined in the measure may be extended, though, reducing its $1.4 billion price tag, but he thinks the project list will survive.

Many of the other provisions in HB433 call for improvements to roads in and around Salt Lake and Utah counties, but Schultz and other proponents say it fairly spreads resources around the state.

“We’re trying to be fair,” said Handy, who serves on the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee. “We’re also looking out for the state, trying to be fair.”

Notably, HB433 calls for double tracking of “strategic” sections of the FrontRunner line, allowing northbound and southbound Utah Transit Authority trains to run at the same time. That $200 million provision would allow trains to run more frequently during peak hours and perhaps even allow for express trains between Ogden and Salt Lake City, cutting the travel time between the two cities, Schultz said.

Augmenting the ability of the FrontRunner to haul more people is important because there are limits on improvements to I-15. “We cannot widen I-15 to handle all the cars, so the FrontRunner is going to become a key component of that,” Schultz said.

Per HB433, 3500 West would be widened from the Davis County line north to where the roadway bends and becomes Midland Drive. Midland Drive would be widened continuing northeasterly to 4275 South, according to Dandoy, connecting into an already upgraded section of roadway. The 3500 West and Midland Drive sections that would be improved now contain one lane of traffic going each way and a center turn lane. That would be augmented to two travel lanes each way, plus a center turn lane.

Left off the list of projects in HB433 are improvements to 5600 South in Roy west from 1900 West and the I-15 interchange to 3500 West. During peak travel times, traffic snarls in that section of roadway, a connector to growing West Haven and Hooper and another priority project for Roy officials.

“It breaks my heart,” Dandoy said, that the 5600 South improvements have to be separated from the 5600 South-I-15 project. But, he went on, HB433 allows for forward movement.

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