FARMINGTON—The decision has been made and Farmington City will be bisected by yet another major freeway.
But while city leaders know there is nothing they can do to change the West Davis Corridor plan decided after years of input, they hope to mitigate some of the impacts on their residents.
“A lot of effort went into this,” said Dave Millheim, city administrator, of the decision on routing the WDC along the Glovers Lane route. “We’re trying to make the best of a difficult situation.”
To that end, Millheim sent a letter to Randy Jeffries, Utah Department of Transportation Project Manager over the WDC, with a six-page attachment listing issues of particular concern to Farmington residents.
Some aren’t easy to resolve, he said, such as whether or not to request sound walls.
“There are major pros and cons to that,” said Millheim. “It’s a no-win since as many don’t want them because they block views, as do want them” because they mask the sounds of traffic.
City staff reviewed all 3,600 pages of UDOT’s Environmental Impact Statement and prepared comments on behalf of city residents.
“Farmington City does not want billboards along any portions of the WDC,” wrote Millheim in his comments. “We have begun discussions with other cities along the proposed route and are moving forward with attempts to receive a scenic byway designation and enhance local ordinances prohibiting billboards along the WDC.”
Aesthetics are a major concern associated with the proposed road.
“We’re not happy with the aesthetics budget,” he told the Clipper. “We know residents want more done on aesthetics.”
The comments included support of nighttime lighting only where necessary and only minimally.
Another priority for the city is the number of arterial connections. Millheim was concerned that as now proposed, there could be a six-mile stretch without an exit, which would be problematic in the case of an accident. He wants arterial connections prioritized not only at Shepard Lane, but at 950 North. Additional arterial connections would provide a “safety valve,” he said, and “aid in public safety access.”
The city also challenged the projects that might require city funding.
Funding responsibility for arterials would fall to cities, according to a comment on 1.6.1 of the EIS. “We disagree with that assumption since it will become, immediately upon completion, a regional mobility route used by multiple users throughout the EIS study area,” Millheim wrote.
The city administrator also took exception to a proposal that improvements to the D&RGW Trail be paid for by the city.
“If UDOT is proposing to build these improvements as mitigation for the WDC, then the State should be paying for those improvements, not the respective cities,” he wrote.
City leaders are concerned about the new route’s affect on students at the new high school, and want to ensure routes to school are not over-crowded as a result of the changes.
Millheim believes that the state plan to build a bike and pedestrian path across only I-15 is inadequate and unsafe. The overpass should extend past Highway 89 as well, he said.
In his comments, he asked UDOT to “not discount the possibility” that a free-standing bridge be built across the stretch so cyclists and pedestrians wouldn’t have to deal with “multiple signal lights over the interchange complexes.”
Millheim thanked Jeffries for the progress made on the study, for “considerable study, multiple meetings,” “ample opportunity for comments,” and “cooperation and professionalism.”
The issues cited in his comments, he said, “need additional consideration and/or should be noted prior to the Record of Decision.”
The letter and comments in their entirety can be reviewed at farmington.utah.gov by following the link to News and Events.