SALT LAKE CITY — Bangerter Highway is on the road, so to speak, to a graduation: the end of stoplights along the route.
First conceived a half-century ago, the mostly north-south route on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley came to life in the early 1990s. The flow on the West Valley Highway, eventually renamed after former Utah governor Norm Bangerter in 1993, had to be stopped at several points to let vehicles on other corridors through.
That, of course, meant stoplights on Bangerter.
Now, the Utah Department of Transportation aims to take away those stoplights gradually. The goal? To make Bangerter Highway even more resemble I-15 — which it mimicked from the start. Eventually, the agency hopes to help move people more quickly around Salt Lake County.
UDOT continues to perform environmental studies aimed at finding the best future configuration for seven intersections. Those seven intersections stretch from Riverton to Salt Lake City.
An open house involving the intersection of Bangerter at 9800 South will be held virtually on July 28 at 6 p.m. from Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan.
Next phase begins in 2023
Construction for those two areas already has rough start dates assigned, so it's not a matter of when, but how to reconfigure the intersections.
Currently, crews plan to start work on those in 2023, along with the intersection at 13400 South in Riverton.
Next in the construction timeline: the stoplights at 4100 South and Bangerter, and California Avenue and Bangerter. Work will begin there, and at the stretch between 3500 South and the 201 Highway, in 2028.
UDOT says that the public will have more opportunities to provide feedback before the agency makes any final decisions.
A hefty price tag to eliminate stoplights
The southernmost intersection currently set for renovation are the stoplights at 2700 West, straddling the cities of Riverton and Bluffdale. However, the Legislature did not yet allocate funding for it. For the other six intersections, state lawmakers have already set aside $805 million.
Our priority is to improve safety and mobility along this critical corridor.
–Brian Allen, UDOT project manager
When Bangerter finally does flow unhindered by those stoplights, in addition to the ones already taken away, UDOT estimates it will reduce the total drive time from the I-15 entrance point in Draper to the Salt Lake International Airport by about 20 minutes.
"Our priority is to improve safety and mobility along this critical corridor," said UDOT Project Manager Brian Allen in a press release. "When the interchanges are complete and traffic can flow freely without stoplights, we expect to see a significant reduction in crashes and in drive times, both on Bangerter Highway and east and west on cross-streets."