While final decisions as to when to build routes for the proposed Legacy Highway may be years away, some decisions regarding location need to be made now.
Northern Davis County officials are right to press the Utah Transportation Commission to fund studies to provide a more accurate picture as to where certain alignments of the planned highway, which could stretch more than 170 miles between Nephi and Tremonton, will be.Failure to do so could result in the unnecessary destruction of homes and other buildings.
Officials from northern Davis County have been told that an 18-mile, four-lane road would be built from Burke Lane in Farmington to 12th Street in Ogden - perhaps in the next 20 years. A lot of homes and other structures can be built in that time, which is why clarification is needed now.
That 18-mile route, identified by a Wasatch Front Regional Council study, was narrowed to only a 400-foot-wide right-of-way. Local officials correctly state that's just too much land to protect. They want the Utah Department of Transportation to narrow the path to the 200-foot width it actually will need.
The 400-foot-wide swath is too large of an area to protect for 20 years. If planners guess wrong as to the road's route, then a number of structures will likely be put at risk.
The same holds true with the route through Salt Lake County. Officials there are in the same bind as those in northern Davis County. They know only that the Legacy Highway will follow a path roughly between 5600 and 5800 West through the Salt Lake Valley.
Officials want to avoid a repeat of what happened when the Bangerter Highway route through Riverton was chosen along 13800 South. Riverton's mayor noted that 14 new homes were removed to make way for the road.
In northern Davis County, only one home is in the identified corridor. With the way that county is growing, pressure will build to put more homes in the corridor. Therefore it's imperative the route be designated as soon as possible.
The Legacy Parkway, 13 miles from North Salt Lake to Farmington, is the first segment of the Legacy Highway scheduled for construction. Its final alignment still remains in doubt because of environmental issues.
Where environmental issues do not threaten alignments or routes, decisions as to the location of the Legacy Highway need to be made. The sooner the better.