LEHI — Laughter, cheering, squealing — the pending construction of most roads doesn't get this much excitement.

But most plans to name new roads don't involve input from an elementary school.

Children at Snow Springs Elementary School in Lehi anxiously awaited the announcement for the name of the new east-west connector Monday morning. The Utah Department of Transportation announced the name, which was submitted by a class, during an assembly with about 1,200 students in attendance.

Pioneer Crossing Boulevard will connect 300 East and Redwood Road at about 1000 South in Lehi. UDOT wanted to involve the community in the naming, asking the children at the school to submit names. Each class submitted a name and UDOT, Lehi and Saratoga Springs officials voted for which name would be best.

Michelle Bird's fourth-grade class submitted the winning entry after students researched the history and environment of the area. During the assembly, Bird read part of the entry that said that the state, county and Lehi were all rooted in the pioneer movement.

She said that every day thousands of Saratoga Springs and Lehi residents make their own treks through the cities to work, and as the new east-west connection will connect Saratoga Springs and Lehi, the name connects the past to the present.

Bryan Adams, UDOT project manager, told the Deseret News he was impressed with the 50 names entered by the school.

"Every name had history attached to it," he said. "We were blown away at all the good names."

During the assembly, Lehi Mayor Howard Johnson said because of all the people moving to Saratoga Springs and Lehi, transportation is the most important issue and this road will help in relieving some of the congestion from Lehi's Main Street.

He also thanked the students for taking the time to name the road.

Adams said construction should begin sometime this fall on the four-lane road, which will only be a couple of blocks south of the school. To illustrate the dangers of construction and stress safety to the kids, Brent Wilhite, a public involvement specialist for the east/west connector project, had several children run a relay through the gym wearing construction gear — vests, hard hats, gloves and protective glasses — around other children representing holes, dump trucks and debris.

Pioneer Crossing Boulevard will also be part of the I-15 expansion project when UDOT expands the American Fork Main Street interchange and will connect the road from 300 East to the new interchange.


E-mail: csmith@desnews.com