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Officials open Pioneer Crossing to motorists

Published: Monday, Aug. 23 2010 11:19 p.m. MDT

Cars travel on the newly opened Pioneer Crossing road in Utah County on Monday.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Alfalfa grows on both sides of the new $260 million Pioneer Crossing, a 45 mph east-west connector to I-15 that opened to traffic Monday.

Most of the acreage is for livestock grazing, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love said.

But not for long.

The City Council here is going to change zoning for the area to a "public community zone."

"It's a new zone," Love said. "It's similar to what Daybreak has."

The city is entertaining concepts from three developers for what to do with the fields around Pioneer Crossing. Love didn't want to reveal much, but promised interested residents that if they stayed tuned to the City Council, plans would soon be unveiled.

And she did drop a hint: Flags planted along the six-mile road alternate between "Saratoga Springs" and "Future Regional Shopping District."

Love also revealed that she doesn't expect the entire area along the six-mile Pioneer Crossing to be retail. There will be plenty of homes, she said. And on the west side of Redwood Road near Pioneer Crossing, fields will be zoned for commercial development, Love said.

Pioneer Crossing, also known as state Route 145, stretches from roughly 200 S. Redwood Road to the interchange at American Fork's Main Street.

The "diverging diamond" interchange is a new engineering concept, the first in Utah and second in the United States. The interchange features two side-by-side bridges. Eastbound traffic uses the north bridge, and westbound traffic uses the south bridge — which is an opposite configuration from most freeway bridges, but one that the Utah Department of Transportation hopes is more efficient.

UDOT estimates the road will transport each day at least 15,000 vehicles — or 30,000 trips — mostly originating in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain.

Pioneer Crossing stretches from roughly 200 S. Redwood Road, to the interchange at American Fork's Main Street.

For commuters from Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, the 45 mph road is an alternative to Lehi's Main Street. "We don't have businesses," Eagle Mountain Mayor Heather Jackson said. "So the majority of our citizens have to commute."

About half travel to Salt Lake City and half to Provo. And regardless of direction, they need to access the freeway, Jackson said.

"It's wider," Jackson said. Pioneer Crossing is five lanes from Redwood through 300 East, where it becomes a seven-lane road to the freeway. Lehi's Main Street alternates between 30 mph and 50 mph, and two to six lanes.

n his eight years in office, said Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, "the issue I've heard about the most is transportation."

Pioneer Crossing, along with the east-west route of Lehi's 2100 North that is under construction and will connect I-15 to the future Mountain View Corridor, will help with traffic problems, Matheson said.

Currently, about 18,000 people live in Saratoga Springs, and 27,000 live in Eagle Mountain, according to local governments' estimates. By 2030, about 300,000 people will live in the area west of Utah Lake.

"Another 300,000 people is putting another Salt Lake City here in this valley," said Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork.

e-mail: lhancock@desnews.com TWITTER: laurahancock

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