CLINTON — While one portion of a massive freeway project at 1800 North in Clinton is set to go, transportation officials say they’re still waiting on funding for the other.
During a recent Utah Transportation Commission meeting, Utah Department of Transportation Program Manager Nathan Peterson said a $90 million project to build an Interstate 15 interchange at 1800 North in Clinton has been funded. Peterson said the majority of the funding is set to kick in between 2023 and 2024.
As part of the project, the new interchange will include flyover ramps on the east side of the freeway and will also provide another entrance into the Falcon Hill Research Park at Hill Air Force Base.
UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said the project will relieve traffic pressure into Hill, particularly at the base’s west and Roy gates, which are off of the 650 North freeway exit in Clearfield and the 5600 South exit in Roy, respectively. Currently, the base only has two full-time access gates: the west gate and the south gate off of State Route 193 in Layton. The Roy gate is open from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Access into Hill has been an issue for years, with traffic often backing up at the two main gates during peak commute hours. The matter figures to get only more pressing in the coming years, as the base braces for a large workforce increase.
Over the next several years, Hill’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program and new programs at Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex and elsewhere on base, are expected to bring as many as 5,000 new employees to Hill — a 20 percent increase from the base’s current personnel total.
While the new 1800 North interchange is set to provide some traffic convenience and relief, a connected project remains uncertain.
UDOT wants to widen 1800 North to five lanes between Main Street and 2000 West. The state also wants to add lanes at Main Street and 2000 West to provide space for turning.
A new railroad bridge that would lift 1800 North over the Union Pacific Railroad and Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner tracks is also part of the proposal. UDOT officials say the bridge will eliminate unsafe interactions between trains, motorists and pedestrians.
But Peterson said the $110 million project remains unfunded.
The Federal Highway Administration approved both the interchange and the widening in 2016 and according to UDOT Transportation Investment Fund documents, the unfunded widening has been tabbed as a “high priority” project for funding.
Saunders said the interchange would likely be built on time, regardless of whether or not the widening receives funding.
The state has already acquired several properties along the 1800 North widening path and are continually negotiating to purchase more. Most of the homes purchased so far are “hardship’ cases, where homeowners are trying to move, but are unable to sell because of the impending project. In those cases, UDOT steps in to purchase property in order to preserve right-of-way.