Timpanogos Highway facing summer of construction

Published: Wednesday, May 1 2013 6:35 p.m. MDT

HIGHLAND — Utah County drivers will have to put up with more construction on the beleaguered overhaul of the Timpanogos Highway.

The Utah Department of Transportation said work to repair long, horizontal cracks in the soil nail wall that supports the ground along the highway will force closure of one lane in each direction periodically over the next several months.

Crews will be replacing concrete panels along the length of the project and a retaining wall on the westbound entrance of the commuter lane.

“Our goal is to make sure that we are mindful of our responsibility to protect the taxpayers' investment from any additional cost due to the rework,” said UDOT spokeswoman Muriel Xochimitl. “If we address this now, we’re saving time and inconvenience in the future.”

The project has been plagued by cost overruns and long delays. Penalties of $15,000 per day were levied against contractor Flatiron Harper Joint Venture for months because deadlines for completion were missed. To date, the contractor has incurred $4.7 million in penalties, Xochimitl said.

The road-widening of state Route 92 — adding a lane in each direction and a center lane — also included the state's first express commuter lanes to provide motorists with a "direct connect" with I-15 that bypasses traffic signals or certain exits. The project also includes re-engineering of the interchange to handle new traffic configurations.

Unlike the HOV/express lanes on I-15, the commuter lanes on Timpanogos Highway are available to all motorists and do not require having more than one person in a vehicle or an express pass. Commercial trucks are also allowed in the commuter lanes.

The original deadline for the $150 million overhaul of the six-mile stretch of highway was May 2011. The roadway is heavily used by northern Utah County residents and is the main connector to American Fork Canyon.

Because the project has yet to be completed, the rework is being done at no additional cost to the taxpayer, Xochimitl said.

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