Friday, May 21, 2010

I-15 Expansion

If you drive a car in Utah County, you don't need me to tell you that UDOT has launched its Utah County I-15 corridor expansion.

One of the largest roadway projects in the state's history, the expansion will add two new travel lanes in each direction, from Lehi to Spanish Fork. In those 24 miles, 10 freeway interchanges will be rebuilt or improved and 55 bridges will be replaced or restored. The rebuild is expected to meet or exceed travel demands through the year 2030, and, according to the project literature, " is an important investment to restore aging infrastructure, address long-term transportation needs and improve the movement of goods and services throughout the state."

With construction already underway, the UDOT public involvement team has been making the rounds, making sure that businesses and residents have the best information available in order to minimize inconvenience. The team visited a recent City Council meeting and offered information specific to American Fork. Did you know:
  • The Sam White bridge will be reconstructed early in the project, with supports being built during summer 2010, and bridge farm work beginning in fall 2010.
  • The 500 East interchange will see a smaller version of the diverging diamond, very similar to the diamond which is nearing completion at Main Street.
  • The Lehi-Pleasant Grove stretch is the first section of the project to be constructed, with completion slated for June 2012.
  • We on the Lehi-Pleasant Grove stretch have our very own public involvement coordinator to whom we may address concerns and complaints. Her name is Amalia Deslis, and she can be reached through the contact link at the project Web site.
The tight, 2.5-year construction schedule has been called "ambitious" and "very aggressive," but those are the last words we will be thinking during rush hours over the next couple years. Delays are expected to run 30 to 60 minutes during rush hour and one to two hours during holiday weekends.

Because of this, I am issuing two personal pleas here at the blog.

  • First, turn off the ignition! Not while you're "parked" in freeway gridlock, but at other times. Gridlock means idling cars, which in turn means poor air quality. We can mitigate this problem, at least in part, by turning off the ignition when we're, say, talking to the bank teller or waiting in the pick-up lane at school.
  • Second, reduce that carbon footprint by carpooling, combining trips, and, if you're an employer, offering alternative work schedules. Faced with similar challenges in Seattle, Washington, Boeing Aerospace adopted staggered work schedules at its various plants, and freeway congestion was relieved considerably.
American Fork's commuters can access a wealth of project and construction information by visiting the project Web site, The Web site offers up-to-the-minute traffic information, regular email updates, and text message alerts. It also sends out updates via Twitter and Facebook. It provides all the latest news. It features an interactive map to teach about project design. For employers, commuters, and students, it offers TravelWise, a program to support carpooling, telecommuting, alternative work schedules, and greater use of public transportation.

I encourage you to visit the site soon. The more time you spend there, the less you'll spend in traffic.


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