LAYTON — With a massive reconstruction project on U.S. 89 in Northern Utah looming, the transportation department is hoping the public will lend a hand with the design.
Last year, the Utah Department of Transportation finished a yearlong environmental study on a $275 million overhaul of U.S. 89 that involves a complete reconstruction of the highway, turning it into a six-lane freeway-type facility.
The plan calls for UDOT to widen U.S. 89 from four lanes to six on a nine mile section of the highway between Farmington and Interstate 84 in South Weber. The state would eliminate signalized cross-street intersections and build interchanges at 400 North in Fruit Heights and at Oak Hills Drive, Gordon Avenue and Antelope Drive in Layton.
UDOT would also build two new overpasses — one where the highway runs over Nicholls Road in Fruit Heights and the other where it runs over Crestwood Road in Kaysville. The plan also includes new side roads and bridges.
Though there is no firm construction timetable as of yet, UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the project will likely begin sometime in 2020.
Since UDOT released its State Environmental Study on the project last March, officials in the department have been working on design concepts — an effort that includes consulting with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and collecting information on the location of petroleum pipeline and other underground utilities in the area.
According to UDOT’s website, the department has hired Oak Hills Constructors to assist with the design process, which will continue through 2019. The state is also continuing to acquire property it will need for the construction.
As the project moves forward, UDOT is forming what it calls a “Community Coordination Team,” which will involve community members and other local stakeholders in the design process.
The committee will include 12 to 15 members — culled from neighborhoods, cities and other entities that will be impacted by the project. The group will provide input on design elements like the new roadway’s profile, traffic related noise, aesthetics and other items of impact. When initial designs for each area of the project are developed, UDOT will make them available to the public prior to finalizing them.
The goal, according to UDOT, is to find ways to minimize impacts while meeting engineering standards and budgetary constraints.
Expanding U.S. 89 has been discussed for more than 20 years, but the need to start construction has only become a reality recently, with a major uptick in traffic occurring over the past few years. UDOT statistics show daily traffic on the road increased by about 5,000 vehicles between 2005 and 2015.