SALT LAKE CITY — On Monday, the Utah Department of Transportation released a list of its top 10 construction projects for 2020. The rankings are based on levels of community interest, regional significance and amount of benefit to Utahns.
Despite worries related to COVID-19, construction and maintenance of transportation systems are considered essential services that will continue.
“Now more than ever, citizens of our state recognize the importance that transportation plays in their daily lives,” UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said, highlighting how transportation is essential to get food on grocery store shelves.
UDOT has also changed its processes for the oncoming projects to allow social distancing whenever possible, Braceras said, including overseeing construction location safety and compliance, wiping down and disinfecting vehicles, and developing tailored health plans to assist with construction safely.
Among the 220 projects ongoing or slated for the 2020 calendar year, UDOT construction will include new highways, interchanges, roads and repavement of pre-existing roads across the Beehive State.
UDOT's top 10 projects for 2020 are:
1. Freeway for U.S. 89 Farmington to I-84
Construction began in February to transform a 9.5-mile portion of U.S. Highway 89 into a freeway by widening both directions of the road to accommodate three lanes each, according to a UDOT news release. At 200 North/400 North, Oak Hills Drive, Gordon Avenue and Antelope Drive existing intersections will be replaced with entry and exit ramps. New underpasses will be added at Nicholls Road and Crestwood Road. Gordon Avenue will also be extended by 3 miles, and frontage road construction to connect both sides of U.S. 89 is already underway. The cost of this construction comes in at $489 million and is expected to be completed in 2023.
2. Interchanges for Bangerter Highway
Three existing intersections along Bangerter Highway will be replaced with freeway-style interchanges, including 6200 South in Taylorsville, 10400 South in South Jordan, and 12600 South in Riverton. UDOT officials say this project continues its multi-year effort to update Bangerter Highway. Construction will start in the spring and is expected to continue through late 2021, with an estimated cost of $222 million.
3. I-15 Northbound
New ramp systems similar to the ones from 900 South to 2100 South in Salt Lake City will be added to northbound I-15 from 9400 S to I-215, in addition to a new northbound travel lane from Bangerter Highway to 9400 South. Construction began in spring 2019 and should be completed by the end of 2020, with a total projected cost of $163 million.
4. A new Midvalley Highway
A new road running from state Route 128 to I-80 will connect Tooele Valley residents to the interstate from a new interchange 3 miles west of the state Route 36 junction. The new highway will increase access to I-80 from Tooele Valley, and future phases of the project may include additional lanes or extensions farther south, UDOT officials say. Construction began in fall 2019 and will be completed in 2021. The total cost estimation of the project is $70 million.
5. New I-15 Express Lanes
The I-15 is being widened to four lanes in both directions with the addition of Express Lanes between Hill Field Road and Riverdale Road. Express Lanes are only accessible to vehicles with multiple occupants, those who pay tolls for access, or electric, hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles possessing a Clean Vehicle Pass, UDOT officials say. Express Lanes help reduce traffic and encourage carpooling, they added, saying that upon its completion, this express lane will be 80 miles long — one of the longest continuous Express Lanes in the nation. The project is expected to cost $169 million. Construction began in spring 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2021.
6. Southern Parkway's (S.R. 7's) Final Extension
Southern Parkway will see its final extension constructed by early 2021, UDOT officials say. The road will extend from Sand Hollow to state Route 9, and, when completed, the parkway will extend south 27 miles from St. George’s I-15 to S.R. 9 near Hurricane. Work started in March 2020, and the project will cost approximately $75 million.
7. 5600 West S.R. 201 to I-80
UDOT will widen 5600 West to five lanes; additionally, a bridge, pedestrian trail and sidewalk will be built over railroad tracks located at approximately 800 South. The 5600 West/I-80 interchange will also be reconstructed during the process. Work began in Nov. 2019 and should conclude in early 2021, UDOT officials say, with an estimated price tag of $83 million.
8. I-15 reconstruction in Juab County to the Sevier River
This summer, 7 miles of I-15 in Juab County will be reconstructed. The project, south of Yuba Lake State Park, will include a large machine tearing up pre-existing pavement, compacting it, and placing new asphalt on top, UDOT officials noted. Costs are projected at $15 million.
9. U.S. 191 widening from north Moab to Colorado River Bridge
New travel lanes will be added to U.S. Highway 191 in north Moab, from 400 North to the state Route 128 junction. A center turn lane will also be added for most of this section, alongside a new water collection system for storms and new sidewalk on U.S. 191’s west wide. Work launched in March and will conclude sometime in 2021, with a total estimated cost of $31 million.
10. Auxiliary Lane from I-80 S.R. 201 to S.R. 36
An exit-only lane will be added to westbound I-80 in order to reduce traffic from state Route 201 and state Route 36 in eastern Tooele and western Salt Lake counties, UDOT officials stated. The project is expected to alleviate traffic by giving drivers a greater distance to merge while entering S.R. 201 or exiting S.R. 36 than previously available, they added. Crews break ground on the project in summer 2020, with an estimated total cost of $6 million.
Other significant construction in Utah will continue, including on I-15 in Lehi, along the Mountain View Corridor in West Valley City, on I-15 southbound in Salt Lake County, and on U.S. Highway 40 in Wasatch County.
UDOT officials encouraged drivers to consider the delays caused by construction when planning their commutes for the coming months.