The Utah Department of Transportation wants to move the U.S. 189 highway designation from University Avenue in Provo to Eighth North in Orem.
And Orem city officials say there may be nothing they can do about the increased traffic and pollution that would result from tourists and trucks coming from and going to Provo Canyon."We only heard about it last week," Jack Jones, Orem public works director, said in City Council meeting Tuesday night. "UDOT said local legislators have been pushing for it, especially those from Provo."
Jones estimated the change would increase traffic on Eighth North about 25 percent. He said he doesn't know of any plans to improve the road to make it safer for area residents.
"The extra traffic will be a burden on the street and will put area residents in more danger from fast-moving traffic," he said.
Councilman Kelvin Clayton thought the action was unfair. "We have our fair share of traffic. UDOT wants us to take more than our share."
Air quality concerns Councilwoman Joyce Johnson. "I don't see why Provo should solve its problem by sending pollution to us," she said.
Councilman Keith Hunt was concerned about city planning. "This will destroy all our careful efforts to develop the 800 North corridor the way we wanted. This is a blatant disregard for our concerns."
Asked what could be done to stop the change, Jones said: "Not much. It is pretty late in the process."
He said UDOT already had sent the application for the designation change to the American Association of Transportation in Washington, but the council could write a strong letter of opposition and send it to association.
The council agreed to draft and send a letter Wednesday.
"We must vehemently defend our position," Councilman Norman Woodhouse said. "We must do everything we can to stop this."
Johnson suggested that interested citizens should write unemotional letters to UDOT and the American Association of Transportation. "If letters get too emotional, they are seen as irrational, and dismissed."