SALT LAKE CITY — The arrival of March marks the final stages of a major construction project that will conclude with a new addition to the downtown cityscape.

This weekend, crews will close 300 East between 400 South and 500 South for major improvements that coincide with the completion of Salt Lake City's new Public Safety Building. The closures will run through May 29. The city is advising area residents and commuters to seek alternative routes during the closure period.

The block-long stretch of 300 East will undergo major improvements, including the installation of public art on the corner of 300 East and 500 South; vehicle lane reductions on 300 East that will add a bike lane in each direction; the installation of a mid-street island; rain gardens added along the sidewalk that will help to reduce runoff; trees and additional landscaping; the installation of terraced walls along the new building to create more public space and seating; and a new mid-block crossing that will connect the new public plaza to Library Square.

“We're trying to create a new space that's more geared for festivals and events that expand onto Library Square and our new plaza, (to) make it a nice open public space,” said project manager Chris Jones.

The $125 million Public Safety Building is designed to be energy efficient, with a goal of achieving net zero status — meaning the building will generate as much energy as it consumes via solar power generation. The building, which will house Salt Lake City police and fire operations, as well as the city’s emergency operations and joint dispatch center, was also designed to be highly resistant to seismic activity.

“We've really tried to balance for the public an extension of the campus and a public space but also a nice home for the police and fire,” Jones said.

The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building was a voter-approved project that began construction in 2011 and is scheduled for completion this summer.

Meanwhile, freeway drivers will also have a road closure to contend with for part of the weekend. The Utah Department of Transportation announced that eastbound I-80 will be closed at Redwood Road from 10 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday. Drivers are advised to use I-215 or state Route 201 as alternate routes.

UDOT is installing an overhead warning sign on eastbound I-80 between Redwood Road and I-15 in Salt Lake City. The sign will be used to alert drivers about the curve in the roadway and to provide an advisory speed limit as they approach the I-15 Junction.

Contributing: Shara Park

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