Legacy Parkway Trail

This Standard-Examiner file photo shows groups of people use the Legacy Parkway Trail for biking, walking and playing in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The Utah Department of Transportation says the time is right to increase protection for pedestrians using Davis County’s Legacy Trail.

On Friday, the Utah Transportation Commission approved a $1 million project to build a series of cable barriers between the outside traffic lane of the Legacy Parkway and the existing Legacy Trail, in various locations. Ivan Hartle, UDOT’s director of financial programming, said the project will provide a reinforced separation between vehicles and pedestrians using the popular trail system.

On Jan. 1 of this year, UDOT increased the speed limit on Legacy Parkway from 55 to 65 mph and discontinued a policy that had banned large semi-tractor trailers from using the 14-mile stretch of road.

When the alternative to Interstate 15 was finished in September 2008, the parkway featured a quiet road surfaces and a billboard ban, in addition to a 55 mph speed limit and a ban on large trucks. Those features were required by a settlement agreement that was reached by the state and citizen activist groups in 2005 after a lawsuit halted construction on the parkway in 2001.

The agreement included a statute stating the truck prohibition would automatically expire on Jan. 1, 2020. The expiration of the statute also revoked UDOT’s authority to keep large semitrailers off the roadway.

Nathan Peterson, UDOT’s Region One program manager, said the transportation department’s design staff has analyzed the corridor and have determined the cable barrier will be installed whenever the trail gets within 50 feet of the roadway.

“There are several areas where the separation distance is much farther than that,” Peterson said. “In those areas, we would not place the cable barrier.”

The paved Legacy Trail is open to walkers and bikers and extends the entire 14 miles of the parkway. It includes a viewing area for the 2,100-acre nature preserve at 2100 W. 500 South in Woods Cross. The preserve features bare mudflats, seasonal wet meadow, marshes and several open water channels. It links the the Great Salt Lake ecosystem to the Wasatch Mountains.

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