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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Cars move along U.S. 89 in Davis County on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, during the evening rush hour.

SALT LAKE CITY — Major changes are coming to a main north-south corridor in Davis and Weber counties, with U.S. 89 slated to be transformed into a six-lane freeway without traffic signals.

The Utah Department of Transportation approved and released its final version of a state environmental study looking at project implications for the rapidly growing area.

Dubbed by long-time locals as the Mountain Road, U.S. 89 is already buckling under congestion that the transportation agency says is only expected to grow worse over the next three decades.

From 2010-2040, Davis County's population is expected to grow by 39 percent, Weber County by 48 percent and Morgan County by 20 percent, according to the study.

Aaron Thorup, Utah Department of Transportation
Utah Department of Transportation

Construction and expansion of the limited access highway, expected to start next year, will not be without significant impacts to both the visual feel of the mountainous road and to the lives of families who live nearby.

UDOT says the project will require 20 relocations of homes, one business and a municipal water tank from Shepard Lane in Farmington to I-84 near Uintah, Weber County.

The 9.6-mile stretch of highway, according to the study, is already operating at "failing conditions," and experiences a high number of crashes due to signalized intersections.

The $275 million project calls for elimination of those intersections or converting them into interchanges or crossings.

About 28.8 acres of residential and commercial land will be lost to roadway use and recreational amenities such as the Adams Canyon trailhead, a portion of Nicholls Park and Davis Park Golf Course will have impacts.

Vic Saunders, UDOT spokesman, said the agency has spent years acquiring most of the property it needs for the expansion.

The last major upgrade on the highway was completed in 1970, when the roadway became what it is today — four lanes with a middle turning lane and center median. Since then, traffic on the road has increased from 10,000 cars per day to 23,300 cars daily in 1990.

UDOT estimates average traffic on the road at around 37,000 vehicles now, with that to increase to nearly 50,000 vehicles in the next few years.

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For nearly 30 years, the fate of U.S. 89 from Farmington to the 1-84 junction has been embroiled in numerous studies, public hearings and debates on how the corridor can best serve the area.

The final study includes responses to comments received on the revised draft study released in January. Although the environmental study is complete, project director Mike Romero said the agency will continue to communicate with communities and impacted households.

“We’ll continue working closely with the cities and other stakeholder groups, as more detailed design takes place and throughout construction,” he said.