Residents near the Utah Department of Transportation bridge construction at 23rd East and I-215 are already breathing a sigh of relief.
Since October, traffic has been rerouted through area residential streets, causing a great stir among those living in the area who have complained about the heavily increased traffic in their neighborhood. UDOT officials have said the bridge is expected to be open to traffic June 2."It's really been a hard project on the neighbors," said UDOT community- involvement officer Jim Johnston. He said the configuration of the ground and the location of homes in the area created a unique problem that gave officials no other choice but to reroute heavy traffic through residential streets.
"I'm sure the people will be darn happy to have the bridge opened and the traffic gone," he said.
Johnston said UDOT will be holding a reception to thank area residents for their cooperation during the construction project. The reception will be held Thursday noon on the overpass immediately before the barricades are removed.
"It seemed like a nice thing to do, given the inconveniences the residents have put up with," Johnston said.
Residents in the area say they will be happy to see the traffic leave and have their neighborhood return to normal. "It's been a real frightening experience for the young people in the neighborhood," said Jesse Davis, 6306 Boxwood Road. It should be safer when the traffic leaves, he said.
"Most everyone took the bikes away from their kids," said Leona Chandler, 2265 Hale Ave. "We walked them (the children) whenever they had to go anywhere."
Davis said he was disappointed with the support the neighborhood received from the county sheriff's office. During the construction, he said he had only seen the area patrolled twice for two-day stretches.
"When they've been here they've almost had to stop every car for speeding," Davis said. "If I were a policeman and wanted to fill my monthly quota for tickets, I could fill that quota within two hours just outside my home.
"I have no quarrel with the people coming through here, but I just wish some would be more courteous," he said.
JoAnn Hellstrom, 2276 Haun Ave., said she is concerned that people may have gotten into the habit of using the residential streets, and will continue to do so to avoid the traffic. "I just hope things will be back to normal," she said.
The overpass will carry 23rd East over I-215, which is yet to be constructed. Duane Christensen, UDOT project engineer, said the bridge construction will be finished on schedule, and work on I-215 will begin in a few days.