FARMINGTON — With construction on the West Davis Corridor less than two years out, transportation department officials say they still must acquire more than half of the land needed to build it.
After getting approval from the Federal Highways Administration last year, the $610 million corridor project is moving forward, with preliminary design and engineering work now taking place. UDOT is currently collecting survey and utility data, with geotechnical teams also performing soil evaluations.
Transportation department crews will be out in the field at various sites along the corridor over the next several months as part of the process.
As the preliminary design work continues, UDOT is focused on property acquisitions and working with resource agencies on wetland mitigation plans. Spokesman John Gleason said the state has acquired just under 50 percent of the land it will need to finish the 19-mile alternative to Interstate 15.
Gleason said the department expects to purchase all necessary parcels by the time construction is scheduled to finish, in 2023. The work will be completed in a “rolling” fashion, beginning in Farmington where the corridor will connect with I-15 and the Legacy Parkway at Glovers Lane.
“2020 is right around the corner, but we actually have more time on this than we do on many of our other projects,” he said. “We don’t foresee any problems (in being able to acquire all the needed land).”
Since 2005, UDOT has purchased dozens of properties along several proposed corridor routes that were first identified in a 2001 study of the future highway.
Until January of this year, the purchases were made using money from the Marda Dillree Corridor Preservation Fund. Established by the Legislature in 1996, the fund allows UDOT to mitigate future road impacts by acquiring property on a willing-seller/willing-buyer basis.
The money in the fund comes mainly from a state tax on rental cars.
Because the alignment wasn’t solidified during much of UDOT’s land acquisition process for the corridor, some land obtained by the department won’t be needed for the project. UDOT regularly holds auctions to sell off surplus land and will put any land sale dollars back into the multi-million dollar corridor project.
Since UDOT’s final purchases under the corridor preservation program, the agency has moved to its conventional acquisition process, which includes eminent domain.
The state expects to acquire as many as 34 homes and nine businesses to make way for the highway.
Though nothing has been scheduled yet, Gleason said the state will host several public open houses as construction nears.
The road will begin in Farmington, connecting with Interstate 15 and the Legacy Parkway at Glovers Lane before terminating at 1800 North in West Point. The new freeway alternative will connect to existing state highways and city streets through six new interchanges.