UDOT wraps up several big jobs

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WASATCH FRONT -- Road builders wrapped up several substantial Utah projects last month and will complete a few more this fall. Motorists will soon be able to say goodbye to at least some of the orange barrels.

Getting in and out of Salt Lake City from the north was a lot easier Wednesday. Motorists who use that route should shave driving time with a new Express Lane in each direction.

What is ? Express Pass?
The electronic system runs from Lehi Main Street to 2300 North in Salt Lake City and from Parrish Lane in Centerville to Layton Parkway. The lanes are divided into four payment zones with overhead signs that show the price to use each zone. Readers at several locations along the Express Lanes detect in-vehicle Express Passes as they travel through the zones and drivers' accounts are charged when they exit.

"There's a lot of congestion in that area, especially during rush hour," said Tania Mashburn, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Transportation.

The so-called Beck Street Project delayed drivers and frayed nerves, but it's done now. The widened road makes a big difference to more than 100,000 people who travel that route each weekday.

A week ago, UDOT launched the electronic payment system for the Express Lanes that now stretch from Lehi to 2300 North in North Salt Lake. Already, UDOT says the new toll system is making an impact: 7,000 passes have been sold, and people are using them.

"Just in the past week, the travel time in the Express Lanes is about 10 miles per hour faster than the other lanes, so people are really seeing a benefit to those," Mashburn said.

35 percent of construction on the Mountain View Corridor in Utah County is completed, and the I-15 CORE Project is 14 percent complete. -UDOT

In Utah County, Pioneer Crossing provides a new five-lane, east-west connection between Saratoga Springs and Interstate 15 in American Fork.

This summer, UDOT worked on more than 200 projects and finished ahead of schedule on many.

"A lot of that is due to new technologies that we are using," Mashburn said. "We're finishing those projects in probably half the time than we were able to 10 years ago."

Innovative bridge building techniques will enable UDOT to wrap up work at the South Layton Interchange ahead of schedule this fall.

You'll also see a first for Utah when UDOT debuts the Flex Lanes on 5400 South in Salt Lake County this fall. Cars headed east get an extra lane in the morning; and when the commuters head home in the evening, the extra lane switches over to westbound.

But the roadwork intensifies in other areas. The Mountain View Corridor is well under way, and I-15 expansion in Utah County continues as the most visible and time-consuming for motorists.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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