ROY — Major traffic growth is on the horizon in Roy and city officials there are hoping the transportation department will quickly fund a project that will address it.
Roy Mayor Robert Dandoy recently spoke to the Utah Transportation Commission, asking them and the Utah Department of Transportation to consider fast tracking a project that would improve 5600 South and its Interstate 15 interchange near the northwest border of Hill Air Force Base.
In 2018, UDOT launched a formal study of 5600 South and the interchange, researching a possible upgrade. The study is still ongoing, but a tentative plan calls for widening the roadway to two travel lanes each direction with a center turn lane between 3500 West and I-15. The indefinite plan also calls for a reconfiguration of the I-15 interchange at 5600 South and bridging the north-south D&RG trail over the roadway where they meet.
Dandoy said the road is “regionally significant” and serves not only Roy, but communities like Hooper, Sunset, Clinton and West Haven. Dandoy said the road and interchange are already seeing serious traffic, but a recent development will quickly make the issue worse.
“We find ourselves in a really interesting position,” Dandoy told the commission. “We’re almost built out at 38,000 people, but ... (out west), they’re growing, and they’re growing leaps and bounds. And of course the best way to get to Interstate 15, a lot of great shopping and Hill Air Force Base is to travel right through Roy.”
The mayor said the study and timing of the potential construction was appropriate, but the emergence of a significant project at Hill requires more immediate action.
“The study was set in motion accurately ... but something happened — wonderful, but it happened,” Dandoy said.
In August, Northrop Grumman broke ground on the Roy Innovation Center, which will serve as future headquarters for Northrop’s work supporting the Department of Defense’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program. The center will be located just south of the Hill Aerospace Museum, near Hill’s border with Roy.
The United States’ current land-based ballistic missile force is currently made up of some 400 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Air Force is upgrading the missiles, their rocket motors and other components, but plans to replace them through the GBSD program by about 2030.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the new program will cost more than $60 billion and run for 30 years. The total cost includes the acquisition of missiles, new command and control systems, and large-scale renovations of launch control centers.
Hill officials and members of Utah’s Congressional Delegation have said the program will bring as many as 2,500 jobs to the area.
Dandoy said the program will eventually include six new buildings at Hill — over one million square feet of office and lab facilities. Completion on first 231,000 square feet is scheduled to be finished by mid 2020. The mayor said the jobs associated with the program will put immediate pressure on the interchange, which presently averages 32,000 vehicles per day.
“We’re going to find ourselves with some significant challenges in traffic,” Dandoy said.
Right now, the project is in phase one of UDOT’s long range plan and not currently funded. Along with many others, UDOT and the commission will soon be analyzing the project as they formulate priorities for funding. Transportation Commissioner Lew Cramer urged the state and fellow commissioners to take a serious look at funding the project in a timely fashion.