RIVERDALE, Weber County The most overloaded non-interstate highway in Utah, Riverdale Road, is ready for a two-year expansion project starting Jan. 2.
The Utah Department of Transportation already has $38 million set aside for the core of the work from I-84 to Chimes View Drive and hopes it can secure more during the next state legislative session to fund the entire 3.7 miles from 1900 West in Roy to Washington Boulevard in Ogden.
"It's the most congested non-freeway corridor in Utah," said Andy Neff, UDOT spokesman.
The highway carries 47,000 vehicles a day, as compared to about 30,000 each for Harrison and Washington boulevards in Ogden.
The project's goal is to increase the highway's capacity by 35 percent and decrease the travel time through the area by 25 percent. It will use 40-year-life-span concrete for the work.
UDOT will generally add one lane in each direction between I-15 and Washington Boulevard. It will add turn lanes and install more sophisticated traffic signals along the route.
UDOT will also totally rebuild both the I-15 and I-84 overpasses and improve those interchanges.
With 300 businesses located along the route including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Target, Home Depot, JC Penney, Shopko and a lot of restaurants and auto dealerships this is one of the busiest retail areas in northern Utah.
Neff said UDOT has had many meetings with business owners and has pledged to avoid doing any work between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day for the next three years. As much work as possible will also be done during the night.
UDOT is hoping to keep two lanes of traffic open in each direction on Riverdale Road during daytime peak hours Monday through Saturday. One lane in each direction will be open at other times.
Notwithstanding, there will be more headaches for motorists.
"I don't want to sugar-coat this," Neff said. "There will be some delays. We'll do our best to minimize the delays."
Businesses obviously worry about customer access during the project. However, some Riverdale residents who live near the ground zero portion of the project don't seem all that worried.
"I think it's a good idea," said D.C. Bailey of Riverdale. "It will improve traffic and benefit businesses."
"I don't find anything wrong with (the project)," said D.J. Conlin, also of Riverdale. He said the road is already so congested that locals know better and use the side roads to bypass Riverdale Road. "We've got to be able to get around."
Neff said no businesses will have to be relocated during the project and it's mainly just slivers of property that are needed for the highway widening.
Regarding alternative routes into Ogden, Neff said the southern half of I-15's widening project in Weber County is now completed. Motorists can now take an expanded I-15 to 31st Street and enter Ogden. Or, those from much of Davis County can use Highway 89 for Ogden-area access.
Neff said the project's west and east ends are not fully designed yet and so no cost estimate for the entire project is currently available. Also, all the property acquisition will not be finished until next spring.
Although some work will start in January, spring will likely be when the real thrust of the project begins in the warmer weather. Extensive road work on the east side of the Weber River viaduct will not commence until 2009.
Neff said the Riverdale Road project has already been in the planning stages for more than five years.For more information on the project: go to www.udot. utah.gov/riverdale; send an e-mail query to rrd2009@utah. gov, or call 1-877-RRD-2009.