Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Work started on a $56 million project to improve Riverdale Road.

RIVERDALE — Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, recalls gathering a little more than two years ago alongside I-15 in Weber County with elected leaders and state transportation officials to celebrate the start of a project to widen the freeway.

Dee also remembers turning to Utah Department of Transportation officials after the groundbreaking ceremony and saying, "Riverdale Road is next."

"And here we are today," Dee said Tuesday, joining many of those same officials at a media event marking the start of a $56 million reconstruction project on the busy road. "Riverdale Road is indeed next."

The road has been one of the busiest non-freeways in the state, averaging 47,000 cars a day on the business-lined corridor, UDOT officials said.

"Riverdale Road is a real struggle for some of us in this particular area," Dee said.

Funding has been secured to reconstruct the portion of Riverdale Road between the I-84 interchange and the Weber River viaduct. The project has been designed to ease traffic congestion, increase capacity and improve the road's overall efficiency.

"Obviously, it will be a great boon to Riverdale city and its business district," Dee said. "But it also will be a great help to the entire transportation network in northern Utah in both Davis and Weber counties."

UDOT crews will add one lane to the road in each direction, rebuild the I-84 interchange to allow for more continuous traffic flow and employ new technology to better coordinate traffic signals.

The road also will be repaved with low-maintenance, long-lasting concrete, and underground draining, water, sewer and other utilities will be upgraded.

UDOT officials estimate that most of the road work will be done by Thanksgiving, with curb, gutter and sidewalk installation and landscaping work being completed in spring 2009.

Because Riverdale Road is a major thoroughfare, with commuters accounting for most of its daily traffic, UDOT plans to do the majority of construction work during the night.

Two lanes in each direction and a turn lane will be open during peak traffic hours Monday through Saturday. UDOT also has divided the construction into three phases so work will impact only one-third of the project area at a time.

Riverdale Mayor Bruce Burrows said the project has been a long time coming. A rebuild of the road was being talked about as a priority project as long as 14 years ago, when he first joined the Riverdale City Council.

"It's slipped back several years," Burrows said.

Dee said the project was in danger of missing out on state funding again, as some Utah legislators felt the money was needed more in other areas.

"We had to nursemaid this one a little bit," he said.

The area's legislative delegation plans to continue to make a case for another $66 million to fund the other segments of Riverdale Road that officials say needed immediate attention — from 1900 West in Roy to the I-84 interchange, from the Weber River viaduct to Chimes View Drive and from Chimes View Drive to Washington Boulevard.