OGDEN — The Utah Transit Authority is currently negotiating three full property acquisitions associated with the developing bus rapid transit project in Ogden, and they’ll soon begin work on another 28 partial takes.
UTA is currently seeking federal funding for the BRT project, which would provide a fixed transit connection between Ogden’s downtown, Weber State University and the McKay-Dee Hospital.
The service would originate at the Ogden UTA transit center at 2350 Wall Ave., head east on 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, go south along Washington Boulevard to 25th Street, turn east along 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, then south to WSU and a planned transit center at the Dee Events Center.
McKay-Dee would be the final stop on the line.
The project would require the acquisition of about 1 acre of right-of-way to build bus-only lanes on Harrison Boulevard from 31st Street to the WSU campus. Carriage Cleaners, which is located at 3205 S. Harrison Blvd., will need to be acquired, demolished and relocated in order to build the lane. A nearby 7-Eleven, which is located at 3195 S. Harrison Blvd., would lose its sign and gas pumps, likely rendering the business unviable.
Closer to WSU, a home at 1341 Country Hills Drive will need to be removed as part of the project.
UTA Project Manager Janelle Robertson said appraisals have been finished and the agency’s real-estate acquisition team is putting together “relocation packages” for the three properties in question.
Robertson said the agency will soon begin negotiations on 28 other “strip takes” of property needed along Harrison Boulevard. Robertson said the project’s engineer, Jacob’s Engineering, is approximately 30 percent finished with the design of the project. As of now, most of the second round of property acquisitions will be “just slivers of the fronts of park strips,” Robertson said.
UTA Project Development Manager Hal Johnson said a similar BRT project in Utah County included more than 400 property acquisitions.
“This is pretty small in comparison,” he said.
UTA is currently soliciting bids for a contractor to provide “pre-construction” services on the project. Those services would involve a contractor reviewing designs for the project, contributing engineering ideas and shaping more firm costs and schedules for the project.
The agency is hoping to receive a Federal Transit Administration Small Starts grant, which would fund about 65% of the total cost of the project. The preliminary cost and construction schedule is required to be submitted before that grant can be awarded. UTA hopes to have the contractor selected and the subsequent cost estimate in place by spring of 2020. To date, the project has been valued anywhere from $60 million to $80 million.