Opposition to including part of Farmington's State Street in the state highway system has surfaced a residents sign petitions and vow to protest the upgrading of the street by the Utah Department of Transportation.
UDOT, at the request of the Davis County Commission, recently added three segments of road to the federal highway aid system, making it eligible for up to $1 million in federal highway funds for improvements.The proposal is part of a plan to link central Farmington to the planned West Davis Highway and improve access to the new Davis County Jail under construction in west Farmington.
Under the proposal, Farmington's State Street from Second West to 650 West, including the overpass over I-15, and portions of 650 West and Clark Lane west to the now-abandoned Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tracks are designated as state highway.
The county is working to asquire the D&RG right of way for construction of a major four-lane highway, the West Davis Highway, running north and south.
The overall effect of the two proposals is to make the site where the D&RG crosses Clark Lane into a major highway interchange, with the new county jail and court complex adjacent to it.
But residents along the route, led by Peggy Barney, 291 W. State St., are organizing in opposition, fearing State Street through downtown Farmington will be turned into a major-four lane highway.
Barney sent a petition with 40 signatures and letter of protest to UDOT executive director Eugene H. Findlay. She also sent copies to a number of government and historic preservation groups.
Turning State Street into a four-lane highway will destroy the historic residential core of Farmington, Barney said, just whenefforts are underway to have it declared a national historic district.
Farmington City Manager Max Forbush said he has not conferred with the county officials who made the request and is not sure what they have in mind, but concedes the roads serving the new county jail need improvement and using federal instead of city of county funds will save local residents some money.
Forbush said State Street from Second West to the overpass is side enough now to handle more lanes of traffic but the tow-lane overpass is the bottleneck.
"Personally, I don't think much will happen to State Street in town," said Forbush. "But construction of the jail is going to have an effect on the roads farther west. Some improvements will have to be made, especially on the overpass."
The affected area in Farmington contains many homes built by pioneer families, Barney said, citing her own, built in 1901 by Annie Clark Tanner. Utah businessman and philanthropist O.C.Tanner was born in the house, Barney said.
Barney said young families are moving into the older homes now and restoring them, sparking the effort through the Utah Heritage Foundation to register the central part of town as a historic district.
"Farmington has a proud reputation of fighting to preserve the downtown area's village atmosphere," Barney wrote to Findlay. "We believe a four-lane highway would be a first step toward destroying Farmington's unique character and turning it into just another commercial suburb."
Barney also cited the presence of a nearby elementary and junior high school, saying the many children that walk to school along State Street or catch a bus there would be endangered by upgrading the street to a highway.