LAYTON — Local business owners are expressing their concerns about plans for a full freeway interchange at the south end of town.

Some 10 years in the planning, work on an expanded I-15 interchange at Exit 330 could begin as early as next year.

The Utah Department of Transportation is taking final public comment on the five possible interchange alternatives through the end of May. More than 200 people attended a hearing Wednesday to review the environmental impact study for the interchange.

"My concern is how traffic patterns will affect my business," said Annie Whittaker, owner of Annie's Main Street Floral, 15 S. Main.

She's hoping it will make her business more accessible to customers but concluded, "It's too early to tell."

Sill's Cafe, 281 S. Main and a fixture in Layton for almost 54 years, is likely to be the biggest casualty if the preferred alternative for the interchange is chosen. Across the street, Doug & Emmy's Family Restaurant, 280 S. Main, would lose most of its access and is also in jeopardy.

That's not good news, but it's better than initial plans years ago when other area businesses to the east, like Hatch Auto, were facing relocation.

A historic home at 287 S. Main would have to be removed, and three other residential properties would suffer minor impacts.

"I'm in favor of it," said Dave Adams, a lifelong Layton resident who served on a citizens committee to review the five alternatives. He believes growth in the area means the new interchange is necessary to keep traffic moving.

Indeed, the steady flow of rush-hour traffic going west on Gentile Street made it difficult to turn left into Layton Elementary School to attend the latest open house.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the area near the interchange increased by 62 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the growth is continuing.

Charles Mace, project manager for UDOT, said design work could begin this fall, with construction commencing as early as January 2009. He stressed that those with comments on the project need to send them in.

A highlight of the project is that it will provide unrestricted access across the Union Pacific Railroad and the FrontRunner tracks.

The preferred alternative will also:

• Construct a five-lane roadway from Fort Lane to Flint Street (750 South) to improve traffic flow.

• Remove the existing partial interchange.

• Take out the current at-grade railroad crossing at 900 South and construct a cul-de-sac instead.

• Build a 30-foot-high overpass on Main Street.

• Widen Main Street at the Gentile intersection to three lanes going north and south, with two left-turn lanes going south and one left-turn lane going north, plus one dedicated right-turn lane in each direction. It also adds one left-turn lane and one dedicated right-turn lane on Gentile Street in each direction.

• Include proposed sound walls near the new ramps.

For information, or to make a comment on the interchange, go to www.udot.utah.gov/laytoninterchange/.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com