WEST BOUNTIFUL - As he stepped down from a heavy-duty excavator after taking his turn filling the shovel with dirt, Utah Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, waved at a crowd of dignitaries on hand for the groundbreaking of the I-15 South Davis Improvements Project.
Adams, along with Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, and Utah Transportation Commission Chairman Jeffrey Holt, took turns on Friday, April 18, operating the excavator to break ground on the Utah Department of Transportation’s largest highway construction project this year.
The groundbreaking drew about 50 people to a construction parking lot just east of the northbound I-15 onramp at 500 South on a cool and windy afternoon.
“We recognize how important the road behind us is,” Carlos Braceras, UDOT’s executive director told the crowd of state, county and local officials. “We’re celebrating this project.”
The importance of I-15 was reiterated by Adams, who said the freeway not only connects counties along the Wasatch Front, “but connects Canada to Mexico.” bringing significant commerce to the area.
The groundbreaking kicked off the $117 million I-15 South Davis Project that will widen 12 miles of freeway from North Salt Lake to Farmington.
As Braceras told the dignitaries, the lanes will concentrate on high occupancy vehicle travel. Eventually, express lanes will run from Ogden to Santaquin, making it the longest continuous express lane in the nation.
The project will also replace aging bridges at 2600 South, 1500 South, 500 South and 400 North and will improve bike and pedestrian traffic at 500 South, 400 North and Parrish Lane.
Much of the work will be done overnight, but lanes will be reduced to 11 inches and will follow changing patterns with lanes open through the duration of the project, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
To keep congestion to a minimum, UDOT officials are asking motorists to take alternate routes such as Legacy and U.S. 89, and to use mass transportation.
For the plan to work, UDOT officials say that 20 percent of daily traffic will have to be removed during the course of the 16-month project.