SARATOGA SPRINGS — Some residents said they spent hours in a smoky traffic jam trying to evacuate from the Knolls Fire on Sunday.
What is usually a 10-minute drive for some people leaving Village Parkway turned into 90 minutes on Redwood Road.
On an average day, the Utah Department of Transportation tracks 22,000 cars a day on the road. It’s the main way into and out of Saratoga Springs.
“You’ve got to pick what you can in 20 minutes, and that’s just chaos,” said Jake Desmond, who was one of the approximately 13,000 people who faced tail lights for miles while trying to flee the fire. “It took us an hour to get out.”
Dusky Dalton, another evacuee, said people were scared they wouldn’t be able to get away in time.
“We did not know (the fire) was that close,” he said.
Saratoga Springs spokesperson David Johnson said residents remained calm and listened to instructions from authorities.
He said the city has been working with UDOT on improving and increasing the number of roads to keep up with the growing population.
“Redwood Road itself was recently widened and repaved all along Saratoga Springs and farther south, which was actually a couple of years ahead of its regular schedule,” Johnson said.
I think the obvious answer is there needs to be a bigger road.
–Dusky Dalton, evacuee
The project cost $50 million, and UDOT reported adding onto Foothill Boulevard could cost up to $330 million in the next 20 years.
“I think the obvious answer is there needs to be a bigger road,” Dalton said.
UDOT is seeking $3 million for the Foothill Boulevard environmental study. From there, they can start developing more plans to alleviate some traffic.