There's no funding and no exact route determined at present, but Gov. Mike Leavitt announced ambitious plans Wednesday morning for a new western transportation corridor - the Legacy Project.
This proposed highway would eventually stretch more than 130 miles, from North Ogden to Nephi, spanning five counties."We have not determined the exact route for most of this," Gov. Leavitt said, though he specifically said it would run in the vicinity of 5600 South in Salt Lake County.
It would definitely parallel I-15 from Farmington to Centerville and could run either side of Lake Mountain in Utah County.
"My preference is to have the Davis County portion of the Legacy Project completed before we start widening I-15 through Davis County," Gov. Leavitt said.
"Currently, there are not satisfactory alternatives to I-15 in Davis County. This new road will allow motorists to bypass accidents, construction or weather-related problems that may occur on I-15."
Funding for the project has not even been estimated, and each segment of the road would likely come from a different financial recipe. It would proceed one step at a time and compete with other Utah road projects for funding.
Leavitt said some segments of the Legacy Project could be built as early as 2000, but he described it as "a long-term, big picture proposal." He compared it to I-15 and its 30-year completion timetable.
He even speculated there could be partnerships in funding with local governments and even the private sector.
Stressing the importance of preserving the right-of-way for the corridor once it is identified, the governor expressed concern for the rural areas it will traverse.
He said legacy was selected for the project's name because it will be a constant reminder that quality of life is our heritage in Utah.
Some 150 people attended Wednesday's first of three press conferences on the project at the West Haven Fire Station. Similar conferences were scheduled west of North Salt Lake City in Davis County and near Camp Williams later in the day.
West Weber County residents, most from West Haven, Hooper and Plain City, expressed concern over the possible loss of prime agricultural land and shared fears of unfair compensation for property taken.
Weber County Commissioner Bruce Anderson said he wants to be sure the west side of his county is not cut off or isolated because of the new highway.
"We need to do land purchases early," he said.
Rep. Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, said the highway will change the way of life in the rural western areas of the county.
"We want to preserve the rural lifestyle we enjoy," he said, explaining the public will definitely have a say in where the road goes.
The map the Utah Department of Transportation presented at the conferences had no specific roadway identified - only a wide corridor.