The City Council has paved the way for a major overhaul of 3100 South between I-215 and 4800 West by awarding a $14.17 million road reconstruction contract to Harper Contracting of Kearns.

One of the largest public works projects in the city's history, the reconstruction will begin June 1 in a cloud of flying dirt.The 13-block-long road rebuilding effort should be completed by the fall of 1999.

In addition to widening the road to five lanes and repaving it, the contractor will lay both a 48-inch sewer main and a 24-inch water main for the Granger Hunter Improvement District.

Curb, gutter and sidewalk will be constructed, new traffic signals installed, and utilities companies will also have an opportunity to move or upgrade their lines while the road is torn up.

Harper submitted the lowest of six bids on the project and came in more than 10 percent under the engineering estimate.

The second-lowest offer, of just under $15 million, came from Whitaker Construction.

City spokesman Ed Quinlan said the June 1 starting date will give the contractor time to mobilize crews and equipment while West Valley City wraps up another major road project on 4100 South.

He said the goal is to finish the 4100 South project first "to offer motorists an alternative" to 3100 South, which will be closed off in quarter-mile sections and will be completely torn up.

Quinlan also noted the city is in the process of hiring a community relations manager for the project, who will keep residents informed about the project and help them resolve any problems.

"That person will conduct neighborhood meetings, send out fliers, talk to residents and try to make this as positive for everyone as possible," he said.

Under an unusual partnering arrangement with the Granger Hunter district, the city will serve as construction manager for the project while the improvement district will pay 63 percent or nearly $10 million of the cost.

The reconstruction will force many of the 13,000 to 19,000 motorists who use 3100 South each day to seek other routes. The road was only designed to handle between 12,000 and 15,000 vehicles daily and has been operating over capacity for some time.

Quinlan said the city intends to reduce traffic congestion while upgrading safety conditions for students and other pedestrians who must cross the increasingly busy thoroughfare.

The Granger Hunter district's new utility lines are expected to improve water and sewer service to homes and businesses in the northwest quadrants of both the city and the district.