A Utah lawmaker is meeting with state transportation officials Friday to find out why an I-215 interchange near an industrial area of Salt Lake City is not being opened to traffic next week along with the final western portion of the belt route.
Rep. David Ostler, R-Salt Lake, said the claim that it would cost too much to open the California Avenue (13th South) interchange before work on the street is completed next summer is an example of "typical bureaucratic logic."Officials of the Utah Department of Transportation and Salt Lake City, however, said keeping California Avenue open while the street is under construction would add as much as $300,000 to the cost of the $3.2 million project and delay its scheduled August 1989 completion by more than a month.
Both entities had planned to keep the interchange closed until the road is completed, even though the remaining western portion of I-215 between 21st South and I-80 is being opened on Oct. 7.
Ostler planned to ask UDOT Executive Director Eugene Findlay at the Friday afternoon meeting to pave a 50-foot stretch between the west side of the interchange and California Avenue.
Then, Ostler said, the road can be used by the industrial firms west of I-215, including several in buildings the lawmaker owns. UDOT spokesman Kim Morris said the paving alone would cost $60,000.
Ostler dismissed the estimated $100,000 to $300,000 cost of keeping the street open during construction and said he would suggest opening the entire interchange but block eastbound traffic.
Salt Lake City plans to advertise for bids on extending California Avenue about one mile, from Redwood Road west to Pioneer Road. Deputy City Engineer Rick Johnston said the road will also be expanded from two to six lanes and eventually be extended to 40th West, the planned West Valley Highway.
The opening of the new section of I-215 at 10 a.m. on Oct. 7 will complete the west side of the belt route. The six-lane, 2.3-mile section cost $36.6 million, according to UDOT.
Now, all that remains to be completed of the freeway is a section from about 65th South east beyond 33rd East that will connect with I-15. That is still about 18 months away from completion, Morris said.