Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Traveling downtown between the Gateway and the city's transit hub will take a little more effort for the next few weeks for passengers taking mass transit.
The Utah Transit Authority announced that a section of its TRAX light rail system will be closed from Saturday, May 5, through Wednesday, May 23, as crews make connections to the new Airport TRAX line.
Stations affected by the 19-day closure include Planetarium, Old Greek Town and Salt Lake Central Station.
UTA said the closure is necessary in order to link up the new Airport TRAX line to the existing system at the intersection of 400 West and South Temple.
"Something like this where you have to tie in a new line is a big enough deal that we'll need to make some closures," Gerry Carpenter, UTA spokesperson, said.
During the construction period, TRAX trains will travel no farther west than Arena Station. UTA will operate bus shuttles to transport passengers to and from Salt Lake Central Station and the central business district, however. Buses will be identified as “Shuttle” in the header.
Carpenter said he was confident businesses affected by the closures, including those located at The Gateway, would still be trafficked, both on foot since they are within walking distance of the Arena Station, and from bus shuttle passengers.
"These bus shuttles will be moving all day long," he said.
Three Jazz playoff games at EnergySolutions Arena are scheduled during the closures. Fans traveling from the north on mass transit to the games scheduled on May 5, 7 and 11 will be able to take FrontRunner to the Salt Lake Central Station, and a bus shuttle to and from the arena.
During the closure period, the bus shuttle will operate on 15-minute intervals Monday through Saturday from 5:25 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., and 30-minute intervals on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
The shuttle route will run north on 600 West at 300 South — the Salt Lake Central Station — then travel east on 200 South to 300 West. At 300 West, the shuttle will turn north to North Temple, then head east to West Temple, then south to South Temple and complete the loop back to 300 West on South Temple.
From there the shuttle will return to Salt Lake Central Station via 300 West, 200 South and 600 West, according to UTA.
“This closure is one of the final steps towards making the connection to the airport line,” UTA project manager Jim Webb said. “We are grateful to our customers and neighboring businesses for their patience as we work to complete this important addition to our system.”
The Airport TRAX line is scheduled to be completed next year. The six-mile line will have five stations along North Temple and one at the airport, and will take approximatley 20 minutes to transport passengers from the airport to downtown. The project will cost anywhere from $250 million to $290 million, according to UTA.