FARMINGTON — The not-yet-constructed West Davis Corridor has been named a scenic byway by the state.
The designation, approved by the Utah State Scenic Byway Committee, prohibits outdoor advertising billboards, allows for scenic byway indicators on road maps (which officials say will encourage tourists to use the road) and makes the road eligible for a National Scenic Byway designation.
A national designation would allow Utah entities to go after federal funding for potential roadway improvements.
The $725 million, 19-mile West Davis Corridor will begin in Farmington, connecting with Interstate 15 and the Legacy Parkway at Glovers Lane. The highway will end at 1800 North in West Point, but a future extension that would terminate near the Weber/Box Elder County line is included in the state’s long-range plan.
The new road will connect to existing state highways and city streets through six new interchanges.
Barring any legal challenges, construction on the corridor is set to begin in 2020. The I-15 alternative is scheduled to open to the public by 2022.
The scenic byway designation includes the Legacy Parkway, which had previously been tabbed as such, and the Davis County Causeway that leads to Antelope Island.
On Aug. 17, the Utah Transportation Commission approved changing the name of the full byway route to the “Great Salt Lake Scenic Byway.” The Legacy only stretch of the byway had previously been called the “Great Salt Lake Legacy Parkway Scenic Byway.”
Ivan Hartle, the Utah Department of Transportation‘s director of financial programming, said cities located along the West Davis route unanimously supported the designation. Local government consent is required by state law before naming a scenic byway. Hartle said Davis County officials like the designation because byway guidelines will go a long way in preserving the visual integrity of the road.
“They’ve basically said, if you don’t do this, we will,” Hartle said. “(They) don’t want billboards along there.”
Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk chaired a local committee that pushed the state to make designation and previously told the Standard-Examiner the effort was also driven by a desire to increase tourism near the area of the corridor, particularly at Antelope Island.
The designation will not impact speed limits on the corridor.
The Legacy Parkway’s current 55 mph speed limit and freight truck prohibition are required by a settlement agreement that was reached by the state and citizen activist groups in 2005.
A Sierra Club lawsuit halted construction on the parkway in 2001. A settlement agreement reached four years later included the speed and truck restrictions, but those are set to expire in 2020.