SALT LAKE CITY — Utah County's planned bus-rapid transit project is ready for development.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday awarded the Utah Transit Authority approximately $75 million for construction of the 10.5-mile line connecting Orem and Provo.
The bus-rapid transit line is part of the Provo Orem Transportation Improvement Project that has been under construction for the past several months.
The project, a partnership between UTA, the Utah Department of Transportation, Provo, Orem and Utah County, is designed to improve transportation for transit riders, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The total estimated cost of the project is $190 million, which includes the $75 million grant, $65 million from a local sales tax bond, $40 million from UDOT, $7 million from a UDOT donated right of way, and $3 million from local sales taxes.
Orem Mayor Richard Brunst was among the supporters who believed the project would help both cities in the long run.
“This will be a great project for Utah County, and it is something needed for the future,” he said. “This will be a benefit for our community.”
The federal grant will fund about half of the cost of the bus-rapid transit portion of the project.
The bus-rapid transit line will originate at Orem Central Station and run to the East Bay Technology Park in Provo, with 18 stops — including at Utah Valley University, University Mall, Provo Town Centre Mall, BYU, downtown Provo and Provo Central Station.
The project is designed to address transit and roadway infrastructure needs near and around both cities, transportation official said. The preferred route, as defined in the environmental assessment process completed in 2011, would connect the Orem Intermodal Center, Utah Valley University, the University Mall area, BYU, high-density student housing areas, downtown Provo, the Provo Intermodal Center, Provo Towne Centre and the East Bay Business Park.
Both Orem and Provo will have stations that feature connections to the FrontRunner commuter-rail line and regular UTA bus routes. The buses will travel about half of the route in dedicated lanes with traffic signal prioritization.
Buses on the route are expected to run in five- to seven-minute intervals during peak hours and 10- to 15-minute intervals in nonpeak periods. The proposed route is estimated to allow buses to travel the entire 10.5-mile route five to 10 minutes faster than if traveled by car, Provo Mayor John Curtis said.
Construction of the project is expected to be completed by late 2018 and open by early 2019.