HIGHLAND — What would you do with an extra $25 million? The Utah Department of Transportation is putting its extra money on a road.

The Utah Transportation Commission voted last week to give the state Route 92 project another $25 million, boosting the current funding to $105 million.

Those funds, taken from the Critical Highway Needs Fund, will go toward the reconfiguration and expansion of the highway.

During a bus tour through Utah County last week, Bryan Adams, the project manager for the project, explained to UDOT officials and members of the Utah Transportation Commission changes to the planned work on S.R. 92

The original design presented to the public at open houses in early April indicated that officials planned to have express lanes running continuously from the Lehi-Highland line to I-15 in the middle of the road, with the arterial lanes to the sides. However, after receiving hundreds of resident comments at the public open house, the UDOT team changed courses.

Adams and the rest of his team incorporated the suggestions from the comments and came up with a less expensive and more innovative road.

Express lanes in the middle of the road concerned many residents. Folks worried about how UDOT would clear snow from the road and how an accident would be cleared without seriously decreasing flow of traffic, Adams said.

The new design places the express lanes next to the arterial lanes with on- and off-ramps to the arterial section. Multiple structures, including bridges that would have been built to accommodate the express lanes, have also been removed from the design, reducing the cost of the project, he said.

S.R. 92, which also is known as the Highland Highway and Micron Road, is the artery from I-15 to Traverse Mountain and IM Flash Technologies. Working with a large company that owns a lot of land in the area could have been difficult for UDOT.

"They (IM Flash Technologies) have been cooperative with us," said Dave Nazare, UDOT Region 3 director. "They've bent over backwards for us, even changing some of their plans."

Construction will occur in phases, each section based on how much money is available, said Carlos Braceras, deputy director of UDOT. The project team has eight different options from which to choose, depending on funds.

Adams, the project manager, said the project should be put out to bid by December with construction beginning spring 2009.

S.R. 92 is just one road in the Access Utah County project, which aims to help the high congestion problems, especially east-west traffic issues. All four projects in Access Utah County — S.R. 92, state Route 77 in Springville, Pioneer Crossing Boulevard in Lehi and Saratoga Springs and the Vineyard Connector — are under the same project management team. That means one group of people coordinates the work on all four roads.

Commissioners looked at three of the roads last week to help them better understand the issues and plans for better, easier transportation throughout Utah County.


E-mail: csmith@desnews.com