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You may not see the bulldozers at work yet or the yellow arrows in place, but the Utah Department of Transportation says work is already beginning on dozens of road projects reinstated by the governor last month.
Nile Easton, director of communications for UDOT, says the agency is in high gear to get those stalled projects ready for actual construction, beginning as soon as March or April. He says, "Some projects are ready to go to bid, others we're moving towards that point. It didn't mean that, you know, we got in our bulldozers and started pushing dirt around."
But if all goes well, the work happening now will lead to that point. Easton says, "The first one you'll probably see going is SR 92, which is down in American Fork. That one will be rolling out here within a few weeks. We'll get a contractor on board and be able to get ‘em going pretty quickly." And that's just the beginning, according to Easton. He says, "Another one is up north. We've got a couple of projects; Syracuse road and SR 108, both projects that'll get going in the next few weeks."
Easton says the projects are good for the economy beyond just creating jobs. He explains, "The great thing about road projects is it's kind of a combination of things. One, just doing the project is great for the economy because those projects help increase mobility, which improves all our quality of lives -- none of us like getting stuck in congestion. And it helps move goods and services up and down, so it's good for the economy that way."
But of course, the jobs are the icing on the cake. "The most immediate impact is getting contractors working. Each of these projects represents hundreds of contractors and subcontractors that work on these projects, and it's good news for the industry," Easton says.
The goal is to be ready by construction season. "Our construction season really doesn't get going until March/April, and that's what we're trying to push: get these projects all basically in the queue, ready to go, so when that time comes, we're ready to get to work," Easton says.
Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., announced in his State of the State Address last month he was reinstating road projects put on hold because of a state budget shortfall. Those projects include some segments of the Mountain View Corridor, work on state routes 201, 92 and 108, improvements to I-15 between 7200 South and 9000 South, and Utah County's Vineyard Connector.
Click here to find a complete list of the projects as they were announced this winter.