City officials and Utah Department of Transportation engineers decided this week to delay any rebuilding of University Avenue until next spring.
The $2 million first phase of reconstruction between Fifth South and Eight North was to begin in July or August. But officials said such a late start in the construction season would have made it difficult to finish the project before winter.The money allocated for this year's reconstruction will be held until next spring, when the project is now scheduled to begin. Provo will also seek additional money so a second phase of the project can also be constructed next year.
City officials hope they can secure sufficient funding to rebuild University Avenue between 2230 North and the mouth of Provo Canyon next summer, when the second phase of reconstruction was originally scheduled.
Mayor Joe Jenkins has said University Avenue eventually will be rebuilt between I-15 on the south and the canyon mouth on the north. The only question is which segment of the street should be done first.
City officials are faced with a quandary over installation of a new computerized system to synchronize traffic signals along University Avenue.
The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring Provo to install the system to improve traffic flow through downtown to help reduce levels of airborne carbon monoxide that exceed federal air quality standards.
The EPA has set a September deadline for completion of the city's efforts to lower carbon monoxide levels. Provo officials had planned to put in the signal synchronization system while University Avenue was being rebuilt.
But now Provo faces the prospect of tearing up the street to install the system this year, only to have it removed next year for reconstruction and then put back in. That would double the cost of installation, estimated at $70,000.
Provo officials hope they can persuade the EPA to allow them to wait until the reconstruction project begins next spring to install the signal system.