Four lanes of traffic may someday cut across Dimple Dell Regional Park.
A local task force examining the future of traffic in the southeast section of Salt Lake County is studying a proposal to build a four-lane, limited access highway across the popular, undeveloped wilderness park.The bridge would be part of a proposed extension of 2000 East/ Highland Drive in Sandy that would eventually connect with I-15 at the Bangerter Highway interchange in Draper at 13350 South.
Sandy city spokesman Rick Davis said the proposed Dimple Dell bridge won't be built anytime soon.
"It's a low priority on the Utah Department of Transportation's agenda," Davis said. "We're probably talking 10 years out for a construction date at the earliest."
The extension would provide a needed circular route around the valley. Still, talk of building the bridge across Dimple Dell has made some residents antsy of a large highway snaking through the park, said Davis.
Much of that apprehension is likely due to a study that includes all the possible uses of the bridge. Davis said every option - including a multilane, high-speed highway - needs to be examined before the project can receive federal assistance.
Other Sandy residents say a bridge, which would have less impact then a surface road, is needed.
"It has to happen, it has to go through," said Dick Adair. A former city councilman, Adair said the 2000 East extension has been discussed for more than two decades as a way to ease transportation pressures.
Adair said he hasn't heard of many people opposing the proposed bridge.
Longtime Sandy resident Vern Sweet agrees the bridge will need to be built but a designated horse trail needs to cut through the park's surface to prevent equestrians from crossing the bridge.
The undeveloped park, which city leaders say looks largely the same as when it was discovered by the pioneers, already supports several equestrian and hiking trails.
Realistically, the proposed bridge would include four lanes with a speed limit of about 35 mph. "A highway going through that area would not support high speeds," Davis said.
Davis admits the proposed highway extension places Sandy residents at the crossroad of community needs. Protecting the environment is vital - as is providing efficient transportation routes to a growing area.
Sandy Councilman Scott Cowdell said the bridge may not be the best option but agrees something needs to be done to ease traffic needs in the valley's southeast section.