OGDEN — Utah Department of Transportation officials say they’re aware of a sometimes troublesome and potentially dangerous Interstate 15 exit in northern Weber County — and they plan to fix it next year.
The interchange in question is 2700 North in Farr West.
Traffic on the east/west running 2700 North has increased steadily over the past 10 years or so, especially since UDOT extended the road in the mid-2000s from Washington Boulevard in North Ogden to U.S. 89 in Pleasant View. The extension made 2700 North the primary freeway access route for both of those cities and for residents living on the north end of the Upper Ogden Valley.
The road also serves as one of northern Weber County’s busiest commercial corridors, home to gas stations, restaurants, a hotel and several large warehouses and employment centers.
Development on both sides of the freeway has also pushed traffic on 2700 North upward.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the combined populations of Pleasant View, North Ogden, Harrisville, Plain City and Farr West has grown by more than 11,000 since the North Ogden to Pleasant View connection was finished.
The most recent UDOT traffic statistics show that number of motorists driving daily on the road near I-15 is around 25,000. In 2006, the number was below 15,000. The traffic surge often causes cars to pile up on the northbound I-15 exit, often spilling out onto the far right freeway lane.
The occurrence typically happens during peak evening commute times and can be inconvenient and sometimes dangerous for motorists.
On Sept. 11, Casey Davenport, 33, of Ogden, was killed in a crash that involved eight other cars on I-15 near the exit. According to the Utah Highway Patrol, Davenport was in the far right lane of northbound I-15 when traffic slowed to a stop near the exit. He attempted to move left to avoid the stopped traffic and was hit by a semitrailer. Other motorists involved in the crash reported injuries, though none were life-threatening.
UDOT spokesman John Gleason said the transportation department is aware of the congestion that can occur on the exit and a project scheduled for 2019 will address the issue.
“That’s definitely something we always want to avoid — having traffic back up (from an interchange) onto the freeway,” Gleason said.
In the spring of 2019, UDOT will add two lanes to 2700 North in Farr West, near the interchange. A new westbound lane will be added between the freeway and Farr West Elementary, with an eastbound lane planned from I-15 to Rulon White Boulevard.
The state will also build a raised median from I-15 to 1775 West, add dual left-turn lanes on 2000 West and upgrade signals and signage in the area. Further east, dual left-turn lanes will be added to 2700 North on both sides of U.S. Highway 89.
The upgraded signals, new lanes and a new “free right turn” that allows cars coming off of the freeway to turn east onto 2700 North without stopping, should move traffic through the area more efficiently, UDOT says.
Relaying information provided by Robert Miles, UDOT Traffic and Safety engineer, Gleason said the last traffic fatality in the area (before the Sept. 11 crash) was in 2010.