For weeks I’ve been reading about how unhappy several special interest groups are with UDOT’s recommendation for the Legacy Highway’s West Davis corridor, but where is the fair and balanced reporting of the other side of the story?
I’m the HOA president for Quail Crossing, and the Shepard Lane option would go directly through our neighborhood. It would take out 10 homes entirely and would literally be in the front yards of at least a dozen more. The Shepard route would cost about $30 million more to build but would take 1/2 acre less of wetlands. So there is the rub, .5 fewer acres of wetlands. The owner of Buffalo Ranch stated in a public meeting that he could flood a 60 acre parcel for wetland mitigation if UDOT bought his property.
About two years ago I talked with one of the administrators at the Farmington Bay Wildlife Refuge and he told me that the migratory bird populations had increased dramatically since the Legacy was built. Why? According to him, it was because the skunks and raccoons were being run over on the Legacy before they could eat the waterfowl eggs.
I have a masters degree in Environmental Health, so I understand the impact that the environment has on ecosystems. I totally agree that the Great Salt Lake shore line and the Farmington Bay Wildlife refuge are jewels that must be protected. Having said that, putting a road along the recommended UDOT alignment does not equate with destroying those habitats or the migratory bird populations. In Alaska, we had several very large nesting areas for geese that were on the busiest float plane airport in the world and on Elmendorf Air Force Base.
UDOT spent more than threeyears researching all the various options and hundreds of hours in the field taking samples and walking the routes. They have been totally unbiased and fair throughout the process in my interactions with them, and unlike the special interest groups, UDOT didn’t have a preconceived agenda that they tried to support with the data.