Businesses affected by a Utah Department of Transportation plan to install a concrete barrier down the middle of Redwood Road can't agree on the best way to remain accessible to customers.
Since everyone seems to have a different opinion on where the barrier should be modified to allow left-hand turns, the Utah Transportation Commission decided Friday to schedule a public hearing on the issue.Last summer, complaints led commission members to postpone until February a vote on the $100,000 barrier project between 54th South and 56th South that was proposed by UDOT to help ease traffic congestion.
Since then, they have heard a number of suggestions from area business owners about how the congestion and the accompanying safety concerns could be lessened while still allowing cars to make left turns into their parking lots.
The problem has been, however, that the solution to one business's problem may not help neighboring companies, or could even encourage potential customers to bypass them entirely.
That problem was evident in comments made at Friday's commission meeting by an attorney for Harmon's supermarket and the owner of an office building on the southwest corner of Redwood Road and 54th South.
Attorney Dan Bushnell said that Harmon's would like to see area businesses donate several feet of right-of-way for a left-hand turn lane into the supermarket's parking lot.
He said without it, there would be no way for the 40 percent of Harmon's customers who travel north on Redwood Road to get into the parking lot, since a concrete median barrier is also proposed for 54th South between Redwood Road and 19th West.
But Lyle Keys, owner of a building about a half-block south of Harmon's that houses a medical clinic and three dentists' offices, said Bushnell's proposal "still leaves me high and dry."
Keys said the street should either be left as it is, with a center turn lane that allows access to all businesses, or, if the barrier is installed, U-turns should be permitted.
He said he stands to lose all of his tenants, especially since northbound ambulances delivering patients to the medical clinic would not be able to get there easily.
The public hearing to officially air such concerns will likely not be held until after the first of the year, according to Sheldon McConkie, a district director for UDOT.
Also at Friday's meeting, commissioners ordered McConkie and other UDOT staff members to review a plan to expand U-224 between Silver Creek Junction and Park City from two to four lanes.
The present plan calls for pasture owned by a Summit County dairy farmer, D.A. Osguthorpe, to be purchased to meet an Environmental Protection Agency requirement to replace so-called wetlands that would be paved over by the road.
Osguthorpe, who has said the loss of the creek on the disputed property would be an end to the family's 45-year-old dairy business, gave commission members a tour of his farm Thursday.
As a result, Commission Chairman Sam Taylor said that other alternatives must be more closely scrutinized before a final decision is made, even though the original plan may still turn out to be the best.
Other alternatives include re-routing the highway either to a hill behind Osguthorpe's home and barn or on the land that the buildings are located on. The existing two-lane highway separates the pasture from the buildings.