Over the last two weeks or so we have had some significant weather induced traffic delays. While weather was a factor in the delays, the fact remains that growth within the Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs Communities has resulted in an increasing population (approximately 60,000 residents between us), and thus and increasing number of cars on the road. These delays are understandably frustrating to our residents. In light of your concerns, I thought now would be a great time to take a deep dive into our transportation infrastructure and to look at what work has already been done, what work will be done (and on what timeline), and what work needs to be done in the future.
The strain placed on our transportation infrastructure has by no means caught us by surprise. In fact, you will the transportation projects discussed below have been presented to various agencies, and funding requested as much as three years ago. These solutions have been planned and funded in partnership with Mountainland Association of Governments and UDOT, Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain.
We understand that more cars without new roads (additional capacity) results in traffic congestion. Having said that, capacity on roads is only part of the solution. Choke points may develop as daily trips increase on the roads. Like a straight pipe flowing water, a straight street flows a tremendous amount of cars quite efficiently. When valves, sharp curves, and new connections are made to a pipe, flow may be restricted. The same holds true for transportation infrastructure when signals, curves, and connections are made to existing straight roads such as Redwood Rd. and other transportation facilities. For this reason there are two approaches to optimizing the infrastructure of our transportation corridors. Increasing capacity and optimizing flow through choke points.
Clearly there are multiple projects needed to solve for the increased traffic we are experiencing in the neighboring communities of Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs. I hope to share specific information on each of those for you in this blog. First, I want to look at the facts.
- Both Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs commuters interact with Redwood Rd. in the morning and evening. (Those who are heading south into Utah County may only cross Redwood Rd., while most others travel North/South on Redwood Rd. for some distance)
- With the exception of Harvest Hills Residents, most commuters from both communities converge on Redwood Rd. at Pony Express, Pioneer Crossing, or Crossroads Blvd. These points of convergence are all located within approximately 1.5 miles of each other.
- The vast majority of peak traffic of Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs commuters is traveling north/south along Redwood Rd. at some point.
- Significant congestion on the north/south travel of Redwood Rd. is causing compound congestion on east/west corridors (Pony Express, Cory Wride Highway, Crossroads Blvd, and to a lesser degree, Pioneer Crossing).
In the simplest form, there are four solutions to the challenges identified above.
- Increase capacity for north/south travel.
- Reduce interruptions and delays to flow of north/south travel.
- Increase capacity for east/west travel.
- Reduce interruptions and delays to flow of east/west travel.
Below is detailed information about specific projects, their description, which need they will address, their timeline, and cost.
Mt. View Corridor
Description: Mountain View Corridor is a planned freeway, transit, and trail system in western Salt Lake and Northwestern Utah Counties. Initial construction in Utah County will include a two-lane road, with one lane in each direction, connecting S.R. 73 to 2100 north. A six-foot sidewalk on the east side of the future roadway alignment will be included with initial construction. Additionally, the intersection and traffic signal at Redwood Road and 2100 North will be reconfigured to accommodate the new connection.
Timeline: Construction will begin in 2017 and will likely be completed either late 2017 or early 2018.
Estimated Cost: $24,750,000
Needs Addressed: Reduce interruptions and delays to flow of north/south travel, Increase capacity for north/south travel.
Here is a link for the UDOT project site for additional information. http://www.udot.utah.gov/mountainview/
Pony Express Expansion
Description: Pony Express will be widened from Porters Crossing in Eagle Mountain to Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs. Due to the structure of state, local, and county funding, this project was previously considered as two projects. Application and approval was given in 2014 for a project to widen Pony Express to add a center turn lane and bike lanes on either side from Porters Crossing to 800 west in Saratoga Springs. Clearly, the project would not solve capacity issues, though funding was not available at the time for the additional $8-10 million to widen out to five lanes.
In 2016 Eagle Mountain worked with Saratoga Springs, UDOT, and MAG to plan for and request funding for the additional monies needed to complete a full widening. Mountainland Association of Governments brought the project through the Transportation Improvement Plan process where the project was scored in the top ten of all County projects. Right before the finalization of the project list, the scoring of the project fell drastically and became the first project not to be funded.
Since that time, developments with financial structures of other projects in the county have freed up funds to request funding again. We are currently working with all parties to get the project funded for the next Transportation Improvement Plan. We anticipate the approval of this project at which time we can work with MAG staff to move the funding up to 2018.
In the meantime we are working to identify ways to speed up the construction and decrease delays of the widening by utilizing the original project funding to move utilities, culverts, complete survey work, and other tasks in preparation for the 2018 widening. It should also be noted that the additional capacity of a widened Pony Express would not currently be supported by Redwood Road. In 2018 however, Mt. View Corridor will be operational and will have added capacity to north/south travel, and will have spread out the load on RR. The continuous Flow Intersection of Pioneer Crossing and Redwood Road will also have reduced the interface of drivers making left hand turn movements in the area and will increase the flow. You can review additional project information at the following link: http://mag-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=8dd48f00b7c4427db4edc1e54ccb7a2e. The project information for this project is not up to date as the projects are being combined.
Timeline: Begin prep work in 2017 (move utilities, culverts, complete survey work, etc.), Begin construction on roadway in 2018
Estimated Cost: $ 11,489,000
Needs Addressed: Increase capacity for east/west travel.
Redwood Road Expansion & Continuous Flow Intersection
Description: Redwood Road expansion is a large project to increase capacity primarily for Saratoga Springs residents south of Pony Express Parkway. The project will however help to keep traffic moving smoothly as it approaches Pony Express. The project will be completed in three phases with the first phase widening the northern most section of Redwood identified in the project. Work will also be completed on the very southern end of Saratoga Springs in 2017.
In 2018, the middle section of the project is estimated to be completed along with the construction of the continuous flow intersection at Pioneer Crossing and Redwood Road. It is this part of the project that will have the greatest impact on our regional traffic flow.
Here is a link for the UDOT project information: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwz6VahrfJiBYzhwYkcyWHQzd1RYeHRPbmpRZFdtVnExaHFZ/view
Estimated Cost: $ 41,758,323
Needs Addressed: Reduce interruptions and delays to flow of north/south travel, Reduce interruptions and delays to flow of east/west travel.
Cory Wride Memorial Highway Right of Way Preservation
Description: In anticipation of the need to expand capacity for Cory Wride Memorial Highway to an eventual freeway facility we worked with several property owners, UDOT, and MAG to preemptively preserve the needed right of way. This action was additionally taken due to increasing development pressure along the north eastern bench of the City. Additionally, the UDOT Transportation Commission designated the SR-73 corridor as a “high priority corridor”. This designation enacts specific requirements under State law that would effectively delay new development requests within the right of way.
Cost: $ 6,894,000
Needs Addressed: Future cost reduction, proactive preservation of land needed to expand transportation facilities.
Cory Wride Memorial Highway Planning and Environmental Study
Description: This project includes the design work and an environmental study on the future freeway facility. S.R. 73 or Cory Wride Memorial Highway will one day become a freeway facility with frontage roads which will act as on-ramps and off-ramps for the facility. Here is a link for the UDOT project information: Note that the dates are no longer correct on the document, but the scope of project and other information is accurate. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwz6VahrfJiBTUJ4R00td3FjSms/view
Estimated Cost: $ 2,400,000
Needs Addressed: Future capacity planning
Foothill Blvd./Mt. View Corridor Planning Study
Description: This study is intended to contemplate the appropriate facility to facilitate traffic flow going north/south along the west bench of Saratoga Springs. The project will contemplate weather or not Mt. View Corridor will be extended south past S.R. 73, or if an alternative facility makes more sense.
Estimated Cost: $ 100,000
Needs Addressed: Future transportation planning of regionally significant infrastructure.
This information is intended to be a comprehensive look at our “regionally significant” transportation infrastructure and does not include other local transportation infrastructure concerns which residents have voiced surrounding the new High School. I will address those concerns and provide other information in a forthcoming blog post.
The projects identified above are funded projects which will be occurring in 2017 or 2018. A tremendous amount of teamwork and planning has gone on between Mountainland Association of Governments, UDOT Region 3, Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, and land owners. The resulting funded projects will add capacity and alleviate some, but not all of our congestion over the next two to three years. As we continue to work through these projects, City Council and I will continue collaborating with stakeholders and legislators to advocate for the needs of our area and our residents. I hope that this gives our commuting residents the confidence that work has been done and will continue to be done to improve our regional transportation infrastructure. As always, feel free to ask any questions you may have.