FARMINGTON — As the Utah Transit Authority nears construction on its $100 million bus rapid transit system through Ogden, the agency is eyeing a similar project in Davis County.
During a recent Utah Transportation Commission meeting, UTA Trustee Beth Holbrook said work is starting on a BRT line that would begin in Farmington and extend all the way into downtown Salt Lake City, potentially as far as the University of Utah.
“It’s not as far long as the Ogden BRT project,” Holbrook said. “(But) the goal is to get to Salt Lake City through Davis County. That’s what we’re working on.”
Though in a different configuration, a project to improve transit service between southern Davis County and Salt Lake County has existed on the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s long-range transportation plan for years.
In 2014, UTA evaluated a project that would connect the two counties from the Woods Cross FrontRunner station. That project never quite got off the ground, but with federal transit dollars available, renewed discussions are underway, with environmental work and preliminary engineering happening now.
Holbrook said the current proposal is larger in scale than what was previously envisioned by UTA.
“The goal ... originally, is to obviously get to Salt Lake City through Davis County,” she said of the original, Woods Cross-based line. “But we saw there was some real value to extending this up north to Farmington.”
The county seat of Davis County, Farmington is one of the busiest areas for commuters in the state. Interstate 15, U.S. 89, Legacy Parkway and the soon-to-be-built West Davis Corridor all converge near Park Lane in the city. That same area houses the massive Station Park retail center and will eventually feature a 250-acre business park.
Like the Ogden BRT, the Davis County system would feature exclusive bus lane segments. The original iteration of the project, from 2014, called for a transit line to run from Davis County into Salt Lake City, mostly along U.S. 89. UTA trustee Kent Millington said the agency would have to work closely with the Utah Department of Transportation as a route is defined.
“All of these BRT systems ... are running on UDOT roads,” Millington said, including future BRT projects in Murray, Taylorsville and West Valley.
Holbrook said a rail project has been discussed to serve the Davis County/Salt Lake City transit need, but BRT is moving forward because costs are significantly less.
“It makes some sense,” said Transportation Commissioner Lew Cramer. “We already have the roads there and buses are more flexible.”
Construction on the Ogden BRT, which will provide a 5.3-mile transit connection between downtown Ogden and the campuses of Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital, is slated to begin in the late fall or, at the latest, in the early weeks of 2021, according to Holbrook.