Matt Gade, Deseret News
KEARNS — The completion of a major road expansion project in Salt Lake County’s second largest township may signal the new beginning for a local community.
On Tuesday, a host of county and Utah Department of Transportation officials joined business leaders and community members to celebrate the completion of the road-widening project along 5400 South.
To commemorate the project’s end, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams hoisted a banner to recognize the milestone for the Kearns community.
Where once there were two lanes of eastbound and westbound traffic with a center turn lane, the road-widening project added another lane in each direction on 5400 south extending from Bangerter Highway to 4800 West. The total cost of the project was about $36 million, UDOT project manager Troy Peterson said.
“(The project) was funded by the Legislature a few years ago to alleviate some of the congestion problems in the area,” Peterson added.
To accommodate the extra street traffic, 36 homes were removed from the south side of the thoroughfare, including the house that Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, grew up in.
“I was raised on this street,” Mayne explained following a ceremony to celebrate the end of the project. “My house was the first one they destroyed to make the new road, and I go to church across the street, so my roots are deep here.”
Mayne was among the staunchest supporters of the expansion effort and said she hopes the project can lead to significant economic development opportunities in the near future and stimulate growth in the community.
“We need our roads to accommodate us, and we needed to do this (project) for the betterment of the community,” she said.
Alan Anderson, president and CEO of ChamberWest, said having the improved roadway will mean revitalization for the area.
“People who are traversing the Mountain View Corridor are able to come through this section of Kearns (now),” he said. “There is more mobility to allow people to get around.”
Anderson said community leaders can now work on plans to increase economic development, potentially adding a number of new small businesses along expanded 2-mile stretch of 5400 South.
“Eventually this could be a business corridor,” he said.
Updating the heavily traveled east-west transportation corridor will not only improve traffic flow, but also enhance the safety and appearance of the area, said Salt Lake County township executive Patrick Leary.
“Instead of a major road with no amenities running through the heart of Kearns, 5400 South is now a well-lit, tree-lined boulevard that improves safety and beautifies the neighborhood for residents and businesses in the township,” Leary said.
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