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John Daley ReportingSome frustrated commuters say a new roadway upgrade designed to help the flow of traffic is having the opposite effect.
You may have seen the recent news item that the state's population is growing at a rapid clip and now exceeds 2.5 million. Well that means more cars on the freeway. State transportation engineers with UDOT in the last few weeks installed so-called ramp meters, lights at freeway entrances-- for example at 90th, 106th and 123rd South-- which allow a limited number of cars at a time to get on to the interstate. But apparently not all commuters are happy about it, especially some coming from 90th South.
We talked to a group today who commute from Sandy to downtown Salt Lake, all of them leaving around 7 am. They say the meters are causing long lines to back up, that some drivers cut others off, and that it's added 20 minutes to their daily commute. All of that disputes UDOT's pledge that it would make the commute shorter.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman, November 2: "Getting on I-15 might take a little longer, but the savings will more than make up once you get on I-15 itself."
Peggy Mitchell, Sandy Commuter: "It's just really a lot of frustration, a lot of congestion, a lot of unnecessary frustration as far as I'm concerned."
Vickie Marshall, Sandy Commuter: "Well, it's hazardous to be driving. It's backed up clear to the next stoplight, so you can't pull in and get in and people won't let you in. So it's just a driving hazard, plus it just makes you late for work."
Pam Dudley, Sandy Commuter: "It's really frustrating. I mean, you're using a lot of gas sitting there in line. You're actually stopped clear up to 7th east."
Late today UDOT officials told us they're changing the timing of the lights and also that they are turning the meters off at 90th South until some construction on 78th South, which may be making things worse, is done.