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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Cars move along 7800 South near Jordan Landing shopping center in West Jordan.

WEST JORDAN — There's no doubt about it. Jordan Landing is the latest hot spot to shop, but has its success come too fast?

With the recent opening of the first Sears Grand store in the United States, Jordan Landing is gaining notice. But with more shoppers comes more traffic, which has led to bottlenecks getting in and out of the shopping center.

J. Perry, who lives in South Jordan, helps manage the Barnes and Noble at Jordan Landing. Perry finds it ironic that it takes him less time to get to work from his home than when he has to drop his wife off at her work on the other side of Jordan Landing. "I mean we're glad to be so busy," Perry said, "but stop signs can only do so much."

Shoppers gain access to Jordan Landing via Bangerter Highway, turning on either 7000 South or 7800 South. Of late, the crush of eager shoppers has caused occasional traffic jams.

Dana Holcomb, who manages the Kiddie Kandids store in Jordan Landing, said she hopes something will be done to keep customers pouring in. Currently, Holcomb said, it takes her employees, many of whom live just east of the Bangerter Highway, about 20 minutes to get to work. A few customers have also complained about the traffic.

City planners said they anticipated Jordan Landing's success and have plans to relieve traffic congestion.

"There's been a substantial increase (in traffic)," said West Jordan City Engineer James Woodruff. "Much more than anticipated. It's happened a lot sooner."

Because of this, Woodruff said the city is trying to move up planned road improvements. Several dedicated turn lanes will be added within the next few months for motorists turning into Jordan Landing on 7800 South. A new traffic signal has been installed at one of the area's busiest intersections at Plaza Center and Campus View roads, with another signal expected to be up and running at 6200 South and Center Park Road within a month.

Another issue is getting to the shopping center from the east side.

Transportation planners say east-west access in the West Jordan area is indicative of a looming traffic crisis on Salt Lake County's west side.

According to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, 7800 South is slated for two widening projects in the area. One $5.6 million project will widen 7800 South from 2700 West to the Bangerter Highway. The project has already been bid out and construction will start soon. The second project will continue widening 7800 South from Bangerter Highway out 2.8 miles west to the new Mountain View Corridor at a cost of $15.5 million. That project is slated to be built between 2004 and 2012.

State transportation officials also have plans for 7000 South, which will be widened to five lanes from 2700 West to Redwood Road. UDOT spokeswoman Amanda Covington said construction on that project is already under way.

"We're aware of the growth out there and we're working closely with West Jordan City to deal with that," Covington said.

Representatives of Jordan Landing businesses also share concern.

"It's my understanding that Jordan Landing has been a shopping destination for some time now," said Sears Grand spokeswoman Cory Rutt. "Jordan Landing was chosen as the location for the first Sears Grand pilot in the nation in part because of the customer access to the area."

With more stores coming in, plus residential units and business park tenants, the need will only grow. Within a year additional stores are expected to be added, including a Coles department store and a Bed Bath & Beyond.

Despite Jordan Landing's success, some companies have decided not to move to the center, mainly because of inadequate east-west access, said Jordan Landing project manager James Taylor. Taylor does, however, commend West Jordan City and UDOT for "fast-tracking" certain projects to deal with the issue, but he added more may be needed to keep the momentum going.

"We need to do long-term planning and we need to do it fast," said Jordan Landing project manager James Taylor, "because this is a tidal wave of growth."