LAYTON — The Utah Department of Transportation has made a significant change to its large-scale reconstruction plan for U.S. 89.
UDOT plans to rebuild the highway along a 9-mile stretch between Farmington and Interstate 84 in South Weber, transforming the road into a six-lane freeway-type facility.
As part of the project, the road will be widened from four lanes to six, with signalized cross-street intersections eliminated and new interchanges added at 200 North in Kaysville, 400 North in Fruit Heights and at Oak Hills Drive, Gordon Avenue and Antelope Drive in Layton.
UDOT will also build two overpasses, crossing over Nicholls Road in Fruit Heights and Crestwood Road in Kaysville. The plan also includes new side roads, pedestrian bridges, a multi-use trail and bicycle improvements.
Those components of the plan remain intact, but a major departure from what had been previously planned is now part of the design.
UDOT Project Manager Mike Romero said U.S. 89 will now cross underneath the local streets and not over the top of them. Romero said the change comes on the heels of public feedback the state received during the project’s State Environmental Study.
“We’re trying to do the right project for this corridor,” Romero said. “During the (SES) we heard a lot about impacts related to noise, views and just overall aesthetics. This (design change) will do a lot to lessen those impacts.”
UDOT spokesman Vic Saunders said design work on the project is about 30 percent complete. The Utah Transportation Commission has already allocated $275 million for the project, but that number could increase as design refinements continue.
UDOT says the nearly 100-year-old highway is currently operating at failing conditions and by 2040, the department figures average daily traffic there will increase by 40 percent.
Safety is also a factor in the reconstruction, as the number of crashes on the road have been rising with congestion. The state’s environmental study says heavy traffic and signalized intersections cause sudden speed changes, making dangerous conditions for vehicles entering the road from cross-streets, especially for those making left-hand turns.
A construction date has not yet been determined, though the state had originally planned to start sometime this year. The project is involved in an ongoing legal battle, which could possibly impact construction time frames.
In April 2018, a grassroots group called “Residents’ Voices United on 89” filed the suit in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake County, asking the court to rule UDOT’s State Environmental Study on the project invalid and thereby halting construction on the project until another environmental review, conducted under National Environmental Policy Act requirements, has been completed.