Although Sandy and three of its sister cities have high hopes for an I-15 interchange at 11400 South, a lack of funds from the state or federal government has put the proposal on hold.
The interchange, estimated to cost $23 million to $25 million, was proposed at the June Transportation Commission meeting by representatives from Sandy, South Jordan, Draper and Riverton.The four cities plan to fund half of the cost if the state will fund the rest, said Rick Davis, Sandy City spokesman.
Davis said the cities would use redevelopment funds to pay for their half of the project. For the rest of the cost, the state could chip in money from the $2.8 billion Centennial Highway Fund, which is used for transportation projects during the next 10 years, said Davis.
But the Transportation Commission says there may not be enough money to build the interchange and won't know for sure until the final numbers are in from Congress with the Federal Highway Bill.
"The most difficult part about it is the funding," said Glen Brown, chairman of the Utah Transportation Commission. "Many perceive that the Centennial fund will handle every project. Unless more funds come that we can identify at this point, we really have all of the money committed," he added.
If more funds come through, the representatives in the four cities think it is an ideal time to put the project on the construction to-do list, while crews are mobilized on I-15 reconstruction.
Besides easing the commuter load on the 10600 South and 12300 South interchanges, Sandy and South Jordan are also eyeing the economic benefits of having an interchange at 11400 South.
The interchange would close Sandy's commercial district loop and let anxious developers commit to building retail shops in the area between 11400 South and 10600 South, said Davis.
For Draper, though, the project is a need that is further down on the wish list. If the 11400 South interchange goes through, it will be the fourth one in the city, noted Paul Glauser, acting city manager for Draper.
Riverton, too, is firmly behind the proposal, even though there is no real economic or transportation benefit for the city.
"Sometimes the benefits are more for the rest, but a consensus in opinion means it will move faster," said Mark Palish, Riverton city administrator. "When we support our neighboring cities on their issues, they will support us on another issue."
The idea of having an interchange at 11400 South has been in the state's long-range plan since the '80s, said Clint Topham, deputy director for the Utah Department of Transportation.
But funds were never available for it, and the project was taken off the State Transportation Improvement Program, added Topham.
It may be a repeat scenario for the 11400 South interchange unless Congress earmarks more money for Utah's road construction in the Federal Highway Bill.