With new alternatives expected to be presented by both sides, a decision on whether to continue construction on the so-called "Skier Connect" road in Sandy is still weeks away.
The Utah Transportation Commission had considered making the decision at its Friday meeting, but members have had less than two weeks to examine a 6-inch-tall stack of transcripts from a September public hearing held on the road.Since that hearing, ordered by 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels after opponents of the road sued to stop construction, Sandy officials have met with the Utah Department of Transportation to suggest their new alternative.
That alternative would scrap the two-lane road, which would connect 90th South and Seventh East with 94th South at about 1150 East, and instead use the state money on other road projects in Sandy.
In proposing the alternative, Sandy officials also asked that UDOT reimburse the city for right of way it purchased and turned over to the state, which is responsible for building the road.
The state would also have to contend with the contractor on the proj-ect, which had just gotten under way when the court ordered the public hearing last August.
The alternative got a less-than-enthusiastic response from Transportation Commission Chairman Sam Taylor, who attended the meeting last week called at the request of Sandy Mayor Steve Newton.
"They said that if we don't spend the money (on the Skier Connect), we still owe it to them," Taylor said. "I think that's a good argument for Sandy to use but I don't think we have any real obligation."
City officials have long supported building the road to both ease commuter congestion and to help guide skiers through Sandy to the mountain resorts. But they have been opposed by a group of businesses that the Skier Connect would bypass.
Those businesses, led by the owners of the Sandy Mall at the intersection of Seventh East and 94th South, formed a coalition that included area homeowners and sued the city and UDOT.
Their most recent effort was to get an interim committee of the Legislature to approve a resolution calling for UDOT to reconsider the road "in an effort to resolve Sandy's traffic problems without adversely impacting a major commercial resource."
Opponents of the road have suggested that traffic problems at the commercial intersection of Seventh East and 94th South could be alleviated with such relatively low-cost improvements as new traffic signals.
There may be another alternative from the opponents, although none of them will say when. They are taking comfort in the fact that the Transportation Commission is taking even longer than expected to make a decision.
"I'm delighted. It's a sign to me that they're taking this seriously," said John Milliken, president of the company that manages the Sandy Mall and one of the road's most vocal opponents.