CLEARFIELD — As the state transportation department enters the final year of work on its Interstate 15 Express Lanes project, Northern Utah motorists should prepare for traffic changes both during and after construction.
The Utah Department of Transportation will be working on 185 projects across the state in 2021, with a value of $3.45 billion, according to UDOT spokesperson John Gleason, many of which span multiple years. The planned improvements range from repaving rural highways, to building freeway-style interchanges and widening, repaving, demolishing and building bridges. The traffic delays from these projects range from overnight lane restrictions to full road closures with major detours.
Gleason said the $163 million reconstruction of I-15, which began in 2018, will be one of UDOT’s “most impactful” projects of 2021.
When the Express Lanes project is complete, new carpool lanes will be added to northbound and southbound I-15 between Hill Field Road and I-84 near the Riverdale/Ogden border. As part of the project, UDOT has replaced the freeway bridge at Church Street and repaired bridges at 200 South in Clearfield and Gentile Street in Layton. Bridges at 700 South and 650 North in Clearfield, and at 5600 West and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Roy, will also see construction.
New to the project this year, the state is extending the on-ramp from Layton Parkway all the way to Hill Field Road and will install new ramp meters at high-traffic on-ramps. Gleason said construction on the project will likely last through the fall. The state will maintain three lanes of traffic on I-15 during daytime hours, Monday through Saturday, Gleason said, but drivers should expect overnight and weekend lane closures as well as lane splits, shoulder work and other changing traffic conditions throughout the duration of the project.
For real-time information on impacts, download UDOT’s traffic app or go to udottraffic.utah.gov.
Gleason said the project is expected to be complete sometime in the fall. Once the work is finished, the Express Lanes system will extend for 82 miles, running contiguously from Utah County to Weber County.
The metered onramps will be new for commuters who live or work north of Farmington. According to the Federal Highway Administration, ramp meters are essentially traffic signals installed on freeway on-ramps to control the frequency at which vehicles enter the flow of traffic on the freeway. The FHA says ramp metering reduces freeway congestion by managing the amount of traffic entering onto the freeway and by breaking up groups of cars entering the freeway at the same time, which can make it difficult to merge onto the freeway and cause traffic slowing in the far right lane.
UDOT Region Two Director Robert Stewart said work on I-15, along with the other projects slated to take place across the state this year, is an essential part of the department’s ongoing efforts to connect communities and keep the state’s economy humming.
Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S. and its population is expected to nearly double over the next 45 years, according to the Kem C. Garner Policy Institute. Utah had the highest growth rate in the country over the past decade, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We’ve planned this work to minimize inconvenience for drivers and residents, but we want everyone to be aware that there will be delays, restrictions and changes to your daily commute and other travels,” Stewart said.