It should have been done years ago, most residents said at a public hearing Thursday about a proposed $10 million interchange to be built at U.S. 89 and Hill Field Road (U-193) in Layton.

The hearing drew about 50 people, and most appeared to favor construction of the interchange which would begin next summer.Construction of access roads around the project would require demolition of eight homes and one business, with the owners being compensated according to standard policy, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) officials said.

The recommendations and results of the hearing will be referred to the Utah Transportation Commission, which will make the final decision on which type of interchange will be built.

UDOT engineers are backing what they call a modified diamond interchange to handle traffic at the T-shaped intersection, one of the busiest in Davis County. Hill Field Road handles much of the traffic into and out of Hill Air Force Base, and U.S. 89 is a major commuter route between Salt Lake City and Ogden.

Recommendation of the diamond interchange is a reversal of statements from earlier public hearings, consulting engineer Michael Long said. Previously, UDOT recommended a three-level direct-connection interchange, featuring on- and off-ramps feeding U.S. 89 traffic directly onto Hill Field Road.

But a closer analysis shows the diamond interchange, which uses a bridge across U.S. 89 along with a traffic signal and less extensive ramps, wouldbetter serve traffic needs, Long said. It also would take less land and would be about $3 million cheaper.

The diamond interchange would require demolition of eight homes, compared to 10 for the other plan, and would use 55 acres as opposed to 60, he said. It also would have less impact on the Weber Basin Water District's water storage and treatment facility on the northwest corner of the intersection.

The least attractive alternative is installation of a signal at the intersection, with no interchange, Long said. Heavy southbound truck traffic climbing the steep grade from the I-80 interchange north of the intersection would create a severe safety hazard as the trucks try to stop at the light and then start again, he said.

Residents attending the hearing mostly questioned the siting of access roads, one at the intersection of 2650 East and Hill Field Road, the other at Valley View Drive on U.S. 89.

A second traffic signal may have to be installed at 2650 East, the engineer said. And, the access road on the west side of U.S. 89 could be extended south to Sunset Drive, he said, a suggestion made by Layton City Councilman Bob Stevenson.

The project would have minimal noise and pollution affects, according to an environmental study. Some farmland would be lost and about two acres of wetlands would have to be replaced.

Three nearby homes considered to have historical value would not be affected, the study found. Fencing would be built to keep deer out of the interchange area.

The study found that 16 percent of the accidents in the study area involved vehicles colliding with deer crossing the highway.

UDOT engineer Lynn Zollinger said if funding levels stay as anticipated, bids on the project would be put out this fall, construction would start in the spring of 1992, and completion would be expected by fall of 1993.