Legacy Parkway to open in mid-September


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It's possibly the most anticipated, most controversial and most innovative highway in Utah. Now, after more than a decade of work and four years in legal limbo, the Legacy Parkway is set to open in September.

Community leaders north of Salt Lake first talked about an alternate to I-15 decades ago. Environmental work started on Legacy Parkway in early 1997. A court injunction halted work from 2001 until 2005. Now, finally, the parkway will open with a special event Sept 13.

Legacy Parkway to open in mid-September

The road was supposed to open before the 2002 Olympics. Commuters north of Salt Lake are beyond anxious to get rolling on Legacy Parkway.

Project director Todd Jensen started work on Legacy more than a decade ago as well. "I'm just very proud that the vision is coming true. It's going to look like we said it would look, and we're finally, most importantly, going to get traffic relief up here in Davis County," he said.

FrontRunner helps, and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is adding HOV lanes to I-215.

Five different construction companies teamed up to execute a design that drew input from the community, critics and experienced road builders. "We wanted to create a different driving experience, a parkway driving experience," Jensen said.

That experience includes detailed design and architecture, hiking and biking paths with native landscaping, colors and materials that blend with the environment, and a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit that reduces noise. In places, neighborhoods are right next to the pathways.

Legacy Parkway to open in mid-September

When UDOT went back to the drawing board in 2006, they had this idea in mind. "It's not just another highway, that it's a unique experience," Jensen said.

All that's left to wrap up is some paving and some striping. Once the road is open, crews will complete all of the landscaping.

The parkway runs 14 miles from Farmington to I-215 at 2100 North. It cost $685 million, and UDOT projects Legacy Parkway will remove 30 percent of the traffic from I-15 when it opens.

For those who will drive it regularly, UDOT hopes it will be more than just another commuter option. "I hope that's what people take away, that it's a different type of facility, something that fits in with the community," Jensen said.

Saturday morning, Sept. 13, the parkway opens to the public with a fundraiser run, walk and bike to benefit the Travis Hess Cancer Foundation, which is a Kaysville organization that helps families struggling financially while trying to save their children from cancer. That afternoon, Legacy Parkway opens for traffic.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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Jed Boal

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