Sandy Mall owners and others who oppose a new road that would route traffic away from the city's major business intersection have filed a motion in 3rd District Court to halt construction on the "Skier Connect."
The motion filed Wednesday follows an unsuccessful attempt to get a temporary restraining order to stop a new road connecting 90th South with 94th South east of Seventh East.On June 30, 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels denied the motion for a temporary restraining order filed by the Coalition for a Better Sandy and the Sandy Mall partners against the Utah Department of Transportation and the city of Sandy.
The road, which would bypass the busy intersection of 94th South and Seventh East, has been dubbed the "Skier Connect" by community leaders who believe it will help direct tourists on their way to the ski resorts through Sandy.
A UDOT spokesman, Kim Morris, said that surveying and other preliminary work on the road started June 11, with bulldozers and other heavy machinery expected to be in use by next week.
The latest motion says UDOT did not comply with a state law requiring public hearings on the road.
Morris acknowledged that there were no public hearings. However, he said UDOT believes it was Sandy's responsibility to hold public hearings on the road, since the city was in charge of designing the road and acquiring the needed right-of-way.
Sandy City Attorney Wally Miller said that the city's position has been that if UDOT had been required to hold hearings on the road, the agency would have done so. Miller said the city has not been accused of doing anything wrong.
The motion alleges that the only public hearings on the road were held by Sandy in 1976, hearings that "did not culminate in any coherent decision as to where the Ski Connect road should be located or whether that road was needed."
Further, the motion states, if UDOT had held the required public hearings, "the alleged need for this road would be exposed as the myth it is" because of changes in land uses and other factors in the past decade.
"There is no substitute for such a hearing and the people deserve the chance to speak. The ultimate and actual effect of the Ski Connect Road is to change the primary route through Sandy City from 94th South to 90th South from State Street to approximately 13th East," the motion states.
That will lead to a 30 percent decrease in business at the bypassed business district, the motion states, as well as require the condemnation and demolition of homes along 90th South if the road is widened.
The motion also noted that some farm structures of historical significance will be partially torn down to make way for the road. About half of the William Walker Wilson farm has been sold to the city for the road.
Questions were also raised in the motion about whether the road is a portion of a federally funded project that should be subject to federal requirements, even though it is being funded through state and local sources.
Money earmarked for the road, according to the lawsuit, is money appropriated by the Legislature for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and repair of roads, not for new construction.