FARMINGTON — Bikers, hunters, birders and runners joined residents and environmentalists to protest the West Davis Corridor under review by the Utah Department of Transportation.
Some who joined the protest on Saturday said they opposed building the freeway along Glovers Lane, one of two routes under consideration. Others spoke in opposition to any highway in northwest Davis County at all.
“We have terrible air quality,” said Carol Werner from behind a sign reading “We love our wildlife.”
“You can’t build your way out of congestion,” she said. “We need to stop this.”
Children held signs reading, “Don’t U dare,” “Keep the highway out of the wetland,” and “Protect our community.”
“I don’t want the freeway here because all the eagles will go away,” said nine-year-old Miriam Anderton, one of many youngsters braving the blustery weather and heavy snowfall to air their concerns.
“I’m out here so we won’t have any pollution in the air and so we will still have wild land and all the beauty,” said her friend, Hailey Powell.
Beauty was one of the reasons Hailey’s mother, Kristy Powell, opposes the freeway.
“This is my sanctuary,” she said of the area near Farmington Bay that would be impacted if UDOT were to select the Glovers Lane route for the corridor.
“It has a big place in my heart,” said Powell. “There is peace and tranquility. There is wildlife in its natural element.”
The young mother said she used to bring her children to the area when she needed to lift her spirits.
“It means a lot to me and makes me sick to my stomach to think they might ruin it,” said Powell.
Randen and Adam Funk held a sign reading, “This is not the place,” during the protest.
“I’m opposed to a road in general,” said Randen Funk. While congestion in south Davis County made the Legacy Highway necessary, he said the same isn’t true in north Davis County.
Many protesters supported a western corridor but argued it should leave I-15 from Shepard Lane and cut west through Kaysville rather than leave at Glovers Lane in Farmington and go west near Farmington Bay.
“We need a new road but this isn’t right,” said Warren Hatch. “Any day of the year you can see eagles and other large birds you don’t see anywhere else. If a road came through they’d have to find somewhere else to find peace.”
The Glovers Lane route would put the highway within .45 miles of the Great Salt Lake Nature Center at Farmington Bay, according to Carl Ingwell, of the Utah Birds and Governor Herbert, We Can’t Breathe groups.
“How can we teach our kids the importance of wetlands on the shoulder of a freeway?” he said. “It’s stupid.
“Pollution follows freeways,” he said, and not just pollution from the fuel of cars, but sound pollution and litter.
Other speakers told the 100-plus residents gathered that the road would impact the flyways of migrating birds and the nesting places of others.
“All UDOT wants to do is lay asphalt and build roads,” said Tim Wagner of the Sierra Club. “We need to put a stop to the insanity now.”
Air pollution shortens life spans, raises blood pressure, impacts children’s ability to learn and lowers intelligence, Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment told the crowd.
“Our public resources are finite,” said R. Jefre Hicks, one of many air boaters and hunters to join the rally. “You can’t destroy wetlands. They’re gone forever.”
Protestors lined the road after the rally, waving signs as the snow kept falling.
“It’s good to see how many people this affects,” said organizer Lori Kalt.
She hopes UDOT will look more seriously at the Shepard Lane option, one she said has been in place for many years.
Information on the two options and their impacts is available at udot.utah.gov/westdavis/.