UTA plans to open its latest TRAX extension, the Medical Center Line, September 29th, 10 months ahead of schedule.
The early opening has UTA scrambling to handle unique safety concerns, on the route through the edge of the U of U campus.
This roundabout is the only one like it in the United States---a traffic circle with a rail line running through it. It's something both drivers and pedestrians are going to have to get used to--and something UTA is a little worried about, safety-wise.
Work is wrapping up rapidly on The Medical Center extension. This week the major portions of the project will be done.
Paula Fox/SLC Rail Constructors: “The track bed is all in place. The overhead cantonary system final section was pulled yesterday and the lines are being regulated.”
Already, UTA is worried about safety--especially in an area where trains will be competing for space with cars and where students will be looking for shortcuts.
Planners expect this traffic circle to catch a few people off guard too, since the trains will cut through the middle of it.
Kris McBride/Utah Transit Authority: “ Two crossing arms will keep people who are currently in the roundabout off the tracks. And the other two crossing arms will keep people from getting into the roundabout all together.”
If all goes as planned, one of the busiest entrances to the University should allow smoother access to hundreds of cars on campus.
Judging by how many people are already riding the east-west extension, UTA is expecting the new line to be extremely popular.
Ridership between the stadium and the University Hospital could be as high as 3,400 people a day--another reason safety is such a worry.
UTA has bought 7 additional trains to handle the demand.