Support Growing for Legacy Highway

Support Growing for Legacy Highway

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Richard Piatt ReportingIt was stopped in its tracks two years ago, but today the Legacy Highway has a better image. Is that enough to get it completed?

Legacy highway is on hold because of a court injunction. But according to UDOT, the delay is only making people want the project more. The number one reason: traffic jams every day.

There are strong opinions about the project for a lot of people who drive I-15 every day. In fact, the Utah Department of Transportation says support for the project is growing, both in spite of and because nothing is happening.

Tom Hudachko, Utah Department of Transportation: "People find themselves stuck in traffic with no alternate route with no other way to go. The more and more they start to realize we need an alternate route up here."

UDOT's research through Dan Jones and Associates finds 53 percent strongly favor the project in 2004. Just 31 percent supported it in 2001.

The number one reason to support Legacy, according to the poll, is to ease traffic congestion.

The survey was done in Weber, Davis and Salt Lake Counties; support is growing in each. 40 percent in Salt Lake County strongly support Legacy. In 2001 just 25 percent said that.

Meanwhile, Legacy Highway opponents aren't giving up on mass transit, preserving open space, and cleaner air.

Marc Heileson, Sierra Club of Utah: "The way to get to that goal is not to build a freeway through the wetlands. That will lead to the opposite. More sprawl, more air pollution, more traffic."

The cost of the delay has been $17-million total.

UDOT is making no secret that it wants to proceed with the project---maybe as early as this time next year.

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