3 projects creating traffic frustration for West Valley City drivers

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- If you have been in the area of 3500 South and 2700 West, you've likely been met with construction from every side. That's because right now there are three major construction projects underway in the area.

Whether you are going to the Valley Fair Mall, the West Valley Court House, or just trying to make your way west on 3500 South, the chances are you are going to get stuck in construction somewhere along the way. For motorists, that's frustrating.

Juana Lopez told KSL, "One time it took me 30 minutes to get here, and I live two minutes away."

That's not the only complaint drivers in West Valley have about construction in the area.

Charlie Garrett said, "It's just a big bother trying to get off when it's one lane coming off 215 and then trying to turn."

The problem is there are three major construction projects going on at the same time: the Valley Fair Mall reconstruction, the new West Valley TRAX line, and the project causing the biggest headache for motorists, the widening of 3500 South to Bangerter Highway.

West Valley City spokesperson Aaron Crim said, "What they are doing there is adding travel lanes. They are also adding a dedicated lane for bus rapid transit, which is similar to the TRAX system, except it's a bus, not a train."

The TRAX line comes from the 2100 South TRAX station. It runs south on 2700 West, then turns west in between West Valley City Hall and the West Valley City Police Department.

"Everything sort of culminates here at City Hall, where the bus rapid transit goes out and TRAX will come out. So basically, every transit opportunity is available right here," Crim said.

But it's that transit opportunity that has even city employees frustrated. For the West Valley Police Department, the new TRAX line ends at their front door.

West Valley City police Capt. Tom McLachlan said, "We're human just like anybody else. We want to get in and get out of places very rapidly, with minimum delay."

McLachlan says the response time for emergencies hasn't change because of the construction, but says maneuvering around it has become more complicated.

Crim says the city is working with the department and other businesses affected by the construction, but he says there's only so much they can do.

"We're trying to deal with the east-west traffic problem, the transit problems trying to get people from point A to point B, and make as little impact on people as possible. But it's just growing pains, and you just have to know it will be better, but it will be a little bit painful," he said.

Crim says the reason the city is having all of the construction done at once is so that motorists won't have to deal with it over a long period of time. The good news is, he says the 3500 South widening will be finished next year. But the TRAX line, we're told, is not expected to be operational until late 2011 or early 2012.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com


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