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Ed Yeates ReportingState transportation experts heard a plan today to build a bicycle trail up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The study could have cost UDOT thousands of dollars, but this one was free, pulled off by a group of student engineers.
Utah ranks as the 10th highest in the country for bicycle fatalities. The narrow highway up Big Cottonwood Canyon is not only one of the more favored runs for bikers, but one of the more dangerous.
Today University of Utah student engineers took their final, a class project that laid out a six foot bike trail running from the mouth of the canyon all the way to the Brighton Loop. Watching their presentation were UDOT engineers and other community experts.
Nathon Richardson, Student Design Project: "I would say this is more than realistic. It's like starting a company with entry level employees who have never done this before and telling them go to work, here's your deadline."
The students named their simulated company "Crimson Engineering." It laid out a fully designed and engineered bike trail for each dangerous section of the canyon. For example, one plan maneuvers through the notorious "S" Curve. An optional proposal would remodel an existing off road trail, by-passing the curve.
They're good plans, well researched, and well presented with a lot of early input from UDOT.
"I made an estimate that the value of this study was probably in the range of 100-thousand dollars. I confirmed that yesterday with UDOT."
But free it is, and UDOT, impressed with the presentation, may now well take advantage of the student work.
Randy Park, UDOT Region Two Director: "We'll meet immediately after the first of the year. There are some things we can implement as early as this summer."
The estimated cost to build the project from beginning to end is 10 to 14 million dollars.