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RIVERTON — Construction crews will pass a major milestone this weekend as they overhaul of one of the busiest intersections in the Salt Lake Valley.
The new freeway-style interchange takes Bangerter Highway over Redwood Road. It has been under construction for a year. Come Sunday, traffic will be flowing again there for the first time in a year.
On an average day, more than 71,000 cars pass the area of Bangerter Highway.
"To see it happening is really kind of exciting,” said Marwan Farah, Utah Department of Transportation resident engineer.
It's the gateway to several communities in the rapidly expanding southwest part of the valley. When Mayor Bill Applegarth moved to Riverton four decades ago, he said approximately 3,000 people lived there. Today, there are about 42,000 residents, the mayor said.
"Because of the Jordan River, we have very few east-west access points,” Applegarth said. “You have the Bangerter Highway here. Then you go all the way to 126th (South) before you have your next one, and then you go to 114th (South).”
That's why keeping the traffic moving on Bangerter is critical. Redwood Road congestion has been even worse.
When the Bangerter bridge opens for east-west traffic Sunday afternoon, traffic flow will improve immediately, Farah said.
And it will help the flow on Redwood Road, too, which will be widened this summer.
"The traffic is not going to be stopping for the Bangerter mainline traffic,” Farah said.
UDOT plans similar overpasses at 5400 South, 9000 South and 11400 South as funding is prioritized.
"Bangerter Highway is going to feel like a freeway,” Farah said.
While the opening of the bridge, which is similar to the bridge at Bangerter and 7800 South, is a major milestone in the Redwood and Bangerter project, it is not done. Work on Redwood Road will push the actual project completion date into July.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc