PROVO Twelve years ago, being one-road towns wasn't a problem for Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, which had just a few hundred people between them.
Times change and now the Utah Department of Transportation is struggling to catch up with the growth that is overwhelming Utah County's road system.
Officials are concerned that the south end of the county is prime for a repeat performance as the population boom moves in that direction.
City officials from Provo to Nebo recently met with the Mountainland Association of Governments to discuss and brainstorm ideas for future land use and transportation in the south county. MAG wants the cities and the county to plan where future roads will be constructed in order to preserve corridors now, said Matt Riffkin, a MAG planner.
Highland Mayor Jay Franson gave the group a refresher course on the problematic north county experience that resulted largely because cities failed to work together and were not adequately prepared to deal with the sudden population boom.
Franson noted that personality issues sometimes get in the way of good planning and encouraged the south-county leaders attending the meeting to look at what would be best for the whole community.
"Look at the future and put your personal issues aside," he said. "It's hard to do because we have this need to be important ourselves and project out. Be willing to sit back and say, 'I need to make this fit."'
MAG planners provided maps showing existing land uses and the existing roads in the south county. City officials were asked to identify which roads they liked best, which ones least and to draw in where they thought new roads would fit best.
The meeting was a kick-off for a study that will look at all the different options, said Shawn Eliot, a MAG transportation planner. MAG will keep meeting with cities and communities to involve them in the study process and will take study recommendations to the public at open houses.
Eliot said MAG wanted to have the cities involved with the study from the start.
"We want to get them energized and engaged ... so that as we go, we can bet on that participation from them," he said.More information about the study can be found at www.provotonebo.com.
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