SUNSET — The effort to build a new freeway interchange in Davis County and a new entry gate into Hill Air Force Base appears to be getting a boost from the federal government.
A provision in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act calls for the Air Force to transfer approximately 35 acres of land at Hill to the Utah Military Installation Development Authority. The move, which was sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, would facilitate a new Hill entrance gate just east of Interstate 15 in Sunset.
The gate is connected to a Utah Department of Transportation plan to build a $90 million I-15 interchange at 1800 North in Sunset. During a May Utah Transportation Commission meeting, UDOT Program Manager Nathan Peterson said the majority of the funding is set to kick in between 2023 and 2024.
As part of the project, the new interchange will include flyover ramps on the east side of the freeway and will also provide another entrance into the Falcon Hill Research Park at Hill.
Officials say the project will relieve traffic pressure into Hill, particularly at the base’s west and Roy gates, which are off of the 650 North freeway exit in Clearfield and the 5600 South exit in Roy, respectively. Currently, the base only has two full-time access gates: the west gate and the south gate off of State Route 193 in Layton. The Roy gate is open from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Access into Hill has been an issue for years, with traffic often backing up at the two main gates during peak commute hours.
As part of the land transfer, MIDA would demolish the Army’s Defense Non-Tactical Generator and Rail Equipment Center at the far west side of the base, adjacent to I-15. When the facility was initially built, it was not inside the Hill boundary. But as the base expanded, the Department of Defense chose to keep the center at Hill.
According to the U.S. Army’s website, the center performs repair and maintenance of rail stock, rail equipment and large-scale non-tactical generator equipment. The center services the Army’s, Air Force’s and Navy’s nationwide rail fleet. Although it’s long been housed at Hill, the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama has overseen the DGRC mission since 2000. The center currently employs 35 people and would move all of its operations to Anniston once the land transfer is complete.
Bishop said the transfer, along with other provisions in the NDAA, will further strengthen Utah’s defense community.
The bill also authorizes $10 billion to purchase 94 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.