The Utah Department of Transportation is kicking off its 2008 construction season with a record number of projects and enhanced information resources to keep summer travelers up to date.
In a Friday press conference at the 9000 South construction project, UDOT executive director John Nord said the hefty number of new projects is necessary to keep up with Utah's booming population.
"The state of Utah continues to enjoy tremendous growth," Nord said. "With that growth comes the need for us to improve and maintain our transportation facilities."
Nord said more than 200 projects are now under way, or scheduled to start this year, with a total budget of nearly $2 billion.
"This represents one of the largest construction seasons in our entire history," Nord said.
UDOT is continuing and expanding its efforts to keep travelers notified of where projects are under way and what to expect when traveling through work zones. Its "Know Where, Know Why" project, started last year, continues this year with an interactive Web site (www.udot.utah.gov), along with regular radio reports on local stations and updates distributed to lodging properties throughout the state.
Commuters and summer travelers will encounter road work from Box Elder to Washington counties, though the majority of projects are on Wasatch Front roadways.
Ten miles of I-15, from Riverdale to Farr West, will continue to be under construction this summer, with ongoing nighttime lane restrictions and intermittent ramp closures. During daytime hours, two lanes will be open in both directions.
Bridge decks on I-84 through Weber Canyon are to be replaced, and work will begin this May and continue through fall 2009. Traffic will be moved to one side of the freeway, with one lane moving in each direction from U.S. 89 to Mountain Green.
HOV lanes are being added on I-15 from Layton to Farmington and should be open for service by this fall. Some lane restrictions will be in place at night and during off-peak hours.
The new, four-lane Legacy Highway is ahead of schedule and will add an option to I-15 for Davis County commuters. It should be carrying traffic this fall.
The I-80 reconstruction project between State Street and 1300 East will continue through fall of 2009, but a high-tech bridge construction technique will allow UDOT to install seven new bridges in seven weeks this summer. Remote-controlled transporters will move the decks, now being built at the 1300 East interchange. The 700 East ramp is currently closed and will remain so until fall. Expect intermittent closures on nearby surface streets, and the speed limit on I-80 through the construction zone is 55 mph.
Southbound I-15 between 9000 South and 10600 South is gaining an additional lane, scheduled for completion this fall. Closures will be limited to nights and weekends.
I-80 will get a much-needed resurfacing from the mouth of Parleys Canyon to east of Lambs Canyon. The project will run through the summer with lane restrictions at night and during off-peak hours.
Redwood Road from Bangerter Highway to Saratoga Springs will get improvements, including a new center turning lane. The project will extend through fall 2009, and some detours will be required at times.
Two projects on I-15 in Washington County will improve road surfaces, reinforce bridges and expand access ramps. Delays should be expected, with some nighttime closures and reduced speeds.
UDOT's regional director for Salt Lake, Randy Park, said accommodating summer vacation travelers will be a priority for the agency."We're very concerned about people leaving and getting back to the valley," Park said. "We'll be focused on keeping things open on Friday nights and Sunday evenings ... when the most summer travelers are on the road."