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Major off-ramp to close for several months



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SUGAR HOUSE -- The Utah Department of Transportation will close a major off-ramp leading to Sugar House Saturday morning. It will affect the commute throughout the summer, and many business owners say they're worried it will cause them to lose customers.

At 7 a.m. UDOT crews will close the westbound off-ramp from I-80 to 1300 East.

"It'll allow us to basically reconstruct that off-ramp then tie it in to 1300 East. It'll have brand new concrete. It'll be more durable," says Adan Carrillo, the public information officer for UDOT.

The closure is one of many UDOT had scheduled as part of its I-80 overhaul. It's already reconstructed the off-ramps at 700 East and State Street. Both are wider and longer, allowing more traffic to pass through.

Now drivers will have to depend on the 700 East and State Street ramps as an alternative route to the 1300 East off-ramp.

"We're trying to get this project ready to go by later this fall, so by December of this year we'll have a brand new facility in I-80 and we'll be out of here," says Carrillo.

Impact to businesses

Closing a main thoroughfare to the heart of Sugar House causes concern among many business owners. They say they've already felt the impact from nearly two years of construction and that this latest closure could take another bite out of business.

"I know the closures heavily affect all of the businesses around here. It doesn't matter what size, whether it's Nordstrom or Verizon or us," says Dave Seljestad, the owner of Dolce Coffee, a business in the nearby Sugar House Center.

Seljestad says he's been working to build his clientele for the past couple of years. Many of his customers come from the Park City and Olympus Cove areas, places east of Sugar House.

"That (the ramp) will be closed down so long, our customers will form new habits," he says, "This isn't the only place you can get a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza or get your cell phone worked on."

UDOT says it's done its best to alert businesses and the public of the changes along I-80 well before they arrive. It says it told businesses of the 1300 East ramp closure at a recent merchants meeting. It's also posted signs along the freeway and updated its hotline and Web site.

Again, the westbound off-ramp to 1300 East closes Saturday, at 7:00 a.m., and will remain closed at least until August.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof

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