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Jason Olson, Deseret News
Traffic moves along the Legacy Parkway in Woods Cross during the first morning commute on the new stretch of road today.

CENTERVILLE — It's so disheartening, the morning commute. A drive that should take 20 minutes takes twice as long. But not today.

Traffic flowed on Interstate 15 for the first time in what seemed a long time during the inaugural commute for the Legacy Parkway today.

Taking 25 percent of the vehicles off of I-15 will do that.

Eventually, up to 30 percent of the 155,000 vehicles that drive through Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful and North Salt Lake are expected to take Legacy Parkway, the first viable alternate route for those commuters.

The $685 million Legacy Parkway officially opened Saturday afternoon.

"The hope is get all of the people going to the west side of the valley out of the way of people going downtown," said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Nile Easton.

The commute from Farmington to downtown on I-15 stayed at about 19 minutes all morning, and Legacy's commute was about the same, though motorists on the parkway have a different destination.

Jeff Sokol, a commuter from Clinton, was among the Legacy motorists who shaved about 5 minutes off of his morning drive.

Normally, he takes I-15 to I-215 in order to get to California Avenue, but Legacy's direct link to I-215 meant Sokol could skirt the area between Centerville and North Salt Lake that usually bogs down to 35 mph or slower.

"There was no slowdown today," Sokol said. "I'm excited to see what happens tonight."

Easton said the evening commute usually packs more motorists into a smaller commute window, so it will be interesting to see how the new parkway performs.

But the license plate of at least one motorist, in a white Saturn Vue, expressed the relief many motorists felt today: FINALEE.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com