Opponents of the Sandy Skier Connect - a proposed highway that would bypass a popular Sandy business district - had a chance Friday to present their alternatives to the Utah Transportation Commission.
"We wanted to have an informal presentation without all the hoopla of a public hearing," said John W. Milliken, president of Millford Managers, the managers of the Sandy Mall.Milliken, who also is a director of the Coalition for a Better Sandy, said there will be enough heated discussion at the Sept. 20 public hearing in Sandy, and opponents of the highway simply wanted a forum to present their point of view to the commission.
The commission listened politely, but made few comments. Friday's meeting was cordial and brief, but left Milliken and other members of the Coalition for a Better Sandy pleased with the state's willingness to listen.
"We were not given a hearing by the city of Sandy," Milliken said. "I hope the state isn't just going through the motions."
Milliken said highway planners have three options to address the traffic congestion in Sandy's business district. The plan supported by Sandy and state highway plans is the Skier Connect, a four-lane highway that would run diagonally from 90th South and Seventh East to 94th South and almost 13th East.
An alternative supported by opponents to that plan is to expand left-turn lanes along the existing routes on State Street and 94th South. That could be done for about $160,000 - about $1.3 million less than the Skier Connect would cost.
Another alternative was to build a two-lane Skier Connect, rather than a four-lane highway.
The Coalition for a Better Sandy maintained Friday that the Skier Connect would divert 40 percent of the current traffic away from existing businesses around the Sandy Mall at 94th South and Seventh East.
"We are asking that the commission consider other than traffic implications," Milliken said. "The need to look at the cultural, social and economic impacts. And there are alternatives that appear more economical from the state's point of view."