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OREM — A new addition to one of Utah's busiest intersections will keep thousands of pedestrians much safer.
University Parkway near I-15 moves nearly 70,000 cars a day, so if you're on foot, as many students are in that area, it's hard to get around the traffic. But crossing the road just got safer and easier.
The street is in the midst of a lot of construction right now, as the Utah Department of Transportation works to turn the intersection of University Parkway and Sandhill Road into a continuous-flow interchange.
Part of the project underneath the road is already finished, though: a new pedestrian tunnel.
"It will be nice; it's a lot shorter walk than I thought it would be," Brett Tolman said. "It's a lot more open than I thought it would be."
Employees with the I-15 CORE project acted Thursday as guides, letting people know the new pedestrian tunnel is open.
"That's the worst intersection in all of Orem," Chase Nunley said. "It takes up all your time during the day."
Pedestrians now don't have to wait for the green light to cross several lanes of traffic in an always congested intersection.
"That light is a little ridiculous sometimes to wait for, and also people don't know how to make the right turn — sometimes they don't look for people, so it makes it so I don't have to deal with that," said Phillip Earnshaw.
That's the worst intersection in all of Orem.
And it's not just students.
"It's quite an ordeal to cross this street here," Alan Farrington said. "You're watching every car, some are making left turns, some, right turns. This is such a busy intersection, so this is a great solution for it.
UDOT said it will also be better for drivers, who won't have to yield to pedestrians, allowing for better traffic flow.
Utah Valley University said thousands of students will benefit everyday.
"A lot of our students are living on that side of University Parkway," university spokesman Chris Taylor said. "We now have a building on that side of University Parkway, so there's a lot of foot traffic."
And this won't be the only tunnel for students. UVU will begin on Monday constructing a tunnel underneath Campus Drive. The tunnel is expected to be completed in mid- August.