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Taylorsville Journal

After nearly a decade of talk, ground is finally being broken on a new belt route frontage road in Taylorsville

Apr 12, 2024 01:50PM ● By Carl Fauver

This intersection is expected to see a lot more traffic a year from now after UDOT connects 4390 S. from here, 2700 W., over to the new I-215 southbound frontage road. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Most Taylorsville drivers have likely heard the familiar statistic: the very busiest intersection in all of Utah is Redwood Road at 5400 South. But what is not as well-known is, the 2700 S. 4700 West intersection is also near the top of that list. And that intersection is only expected to get busier now that the new The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple is opening in the area.

Long before the new temple was announced… and long before the pandemic darkened our doorsteps… we were already hearing talk of a plan the Utah Department of Transportation was considering to help ease congestion at that notorious intersection.

Here’s a portion of what appeared in these Taylorsville Journal pages in September 2017:

“This is my third UDOT project trying to deal with the traffic problems in that area,” Project Manager Oanh Le-Spradlin said. “Now UDOT is focused on constructing a new freeway frontage road to shift some of the traffic off 2700 West.”

The UDOT frontage road proposal never died; but it was certainly pushed to a back burner. We’ve seen several Bangerter Highway intersections upgraded in that time. And now, finally, it appears the southbound-only frontage road – from about 4100 South to 4700 South – is a go.

Le-Spradlin is no longer the UDOT project manager. Instead, David Cox has been in that position about five months.

“Funding issues slowed the frontage road down and other projects took a higher priority,” Cox said. “This sat for a while with no project manager. Then someone else took that role about 18 months ago. I am the third project manager on it.”

The old saying, “third time is the charm” appears to apply.

“Drivers will begin to see work on the frontage road in April,” Cox said. “The first thing we have to do is extend an existing box culvert. Canal water currently passes under I-215 through that culvert; but now we have to add another 11 foot section to extend it where the frontage road will go.”

Canal customers take their water pretty seriously, which gives the canal company a lot of clout. UDOT has been told it has three weeks to extend the culvert – April 1 to 21. After that, water will start flowing through it. The rest of the frontage road project is expected to take a little more than a year.

“Once the box culvert is extended, our crews can work over it, and will be doing that all spring, summer and fall,” Cox said. “We’ll have to take next winter off. But, if all goes well, the new frontage road should be completed by June 2025.”

Simultaneous to the frontage road work, a second part of this project includes extending Bedford Road (4390 S.) east, to intersect the new frontage road. That, in fact, is the primary reason for the frontage road: to get commuters to 2700 W. in a place other than 4700 S.

Bedford Road currently dead ends in the area between the Utah Public Health Laboratory and the State office building and annex (think “American Express Building”).

Again, going back to the initial 2017 discussions about this project, as many as three different “cut through” routes were considered between the frontage road and 2700 West. At least in this initial phase of the project, Bedford Road will be the only one.

“Our total cost on the project is about $33 million,” Cox said. “That’s everything: all environmental and other studies, right-of-way acquisitions and construction. Taylorsville and West Valley City have each contributed a small portion of that, primarily for drainage improvements and landscape work.”

Specifically, Cox reports the Taylorsville price tag to be $350,000 and West Valley City $150,000.

“I am excited this project is finally getting started,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “I think it will add beauty to our belt route. It’s taken quite a while to get here; but sometimes you just have to be patient.”

“I certainly think this project will be a benefit to our Taylorsville drivers,” City Councilwoman Meredith Harker added. “This has been a long time coming. I’m glad UDOT is moving forward.” 

“From the time I have been on this project it has gone smoothly and all of the different stakeholders seem to be satisfied,” Cox concluded. “We are confident this will really help traffic flow, giving drivers more options. UDOT is investing heavily on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.”

Perhaps another old saying apropos to the project – in addition to “third time is the charm” – is “better late, than never.” λ

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