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UDOT announces more than 200 summer road construction projects

Published: Thursday, April 5 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Construction at Bangerter Highway and 7800 South on Thursday, April 5, 2012, is among UDOT's top 20 road construction projects statewide for the 2012 construction season, which will be one of the busiest seasons in Utah's history.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN — Motorists traveling east on Daybreak View Parkway past Herriman High School pass signs warning of construction, but Thursday afternoon, only a few construction workers and trucks are visible. Many of the residents at the Timbergate apartment complex across the street weren't even sure what was being built there.

It won't be that way for long.

The site is one of more than 200 projects the Utah Department of Transportation will be working on for the rest of the year, a record in the state. UDOT estimates the projects will cost just under an estimated $4 billion.

"There's a lot of pain coming," said Robert Stewart, I-15 CORE deputy project director for UDOT.

The pending work at Daybreak View Parkway near 4800 West will be part of the Mountain View Corridor, which will be two lanes in each direction with signalized intersections that will one day be a fully functional freeway on the far west side of Salt Lake Valley.

UDOT has released a guide to the 20 most significant projects they will be working on the remainder of the year that stretch across the state. In Washington County, three miles of climbing lanes will be added to I-15 to allow motorists to pass slower semi-trucks, while in Ogden, lanes will be shifted and closed on U.S. 89 to redo the roadway.

John Njord, executive director of UDOT, said with all the projects, the goal is to minimize the inconvenience for drivers.

"We know when we're here, we're impacting people's lives," he said. "We're finding ways we can minimize our impact.

UDOT hopes their guide to the 20 most significant projects, available at udot.utah.gov, will be able to inform drivers so they can plan ahead or avoid construction zones all together.

Six of the 20 projects are in Salt Lake County, the most of any county. Motorists on I-15 from 10600 South to 600 North will experience lane restrictions, reduced speeds and ramp closures this summer, and in a project titled "Bangerter 2.0," a grade-separated interchange and new pedestrian bridges is being added at 7800 S. and 13400 S.

In Utah County, work will be done on the I-15 from Lehi to Spanish Fork that will expand the freeway by two lanes and replace or restore 63 bridges.

"Generally, our drivers out there are not looking forward to driving in our construction zones," Njord said, although UDOT hopes its methods to reducing impact for drivers, such as working at night, will be helpful.

Rachel Downward, who runs the Nine Salon and Spa in West Jordan, said she doesn't look forward to the construction.

"I think everybody hates it," she said. "It seems like it's ongoing. It seems like it's just an inconvenience, but I think I understand why it needs to be done."

Downward said for many living in her corner of Salt Lake Valley, the new freeway will make it easier to travel to Salt Lake City.

"It's not appealing for someone like me to go downtown," she said. "I think a lot of people in Herriman feel the same way. From a business standpoint for us here, it will help people travel to us."

UDOT has also released a free smartphone app available for download for iPhone and Android smartphones that provides real-time information about construction, road conditions and emergency alerts.

"It's an attempt on our behalf to get that info to drivers," Njord said.

Although the state will experience a historic number of road construction projects this year, the end is in sight.

"At the end of this year, a lot of this is going to be done and we'll be out of people's hair," Njord said.

E-mail: hschwarz@desnews.com

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