BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
CENTERVILLE — Motorists through south Davis County have been used to orange cones and closed lanes on I-15 as one project after another has been completed over the past decade.
Come January, motorists can expect another major project as the Utah Department of Transportation replaces seven bridges and expands the Express Lane.
The cost for the project is expected to be $120 million.
“We’ve seen a need for the expansion of the Express Lane for quite a while,” said Kris Peterson, UDOT region I director. “We saw the need as soon as the Express Lane between Farmington and Layton opened.”
Many people are willing to pay the cost of the Express Lane when they’re trying to get to work, or are running late after work, “when they have to get to a child’s soccer game or something,” Peterson said.
The work will focus on expanding the northbound Express Lane between North Salt Lake and Farmington, “and as much of the southbound lane as money allows,” Peterson said.
Most of the work on the lane will be done during the overnight hours, allowing motorists to have full access to the interstate during peak hours, Peterson said.
The seven bridges to be replaced will include both north and southbound bridges at 2600 South, 500 South, 1500 South and one on 400 North.
Plans for the project have been five years in the making. It is part of Wasatch Front Regional Council’s Transportation Improvement Plan. The council, made up of mayors and county commissioners from five area counties, prioritize road projects based on need.
“We have a history of concrete falling off six of the bridges into the road below in the area,” Peterson said. “They’ve reached their life capacity,” which is 50 to 75 years.
UDOT crews monitor every bridge within its road system on a regimented schedule for deterioration, “and we work on them based on the needs,” Peterson said
Six of the seven will be built using the design-build concept, which UDOT has been using to replace bridges for several years. In that, a bridge is built off to the side of road or off site and slid in upon completion. The work is done over a weekend when I-15 is closed between Friday night and Sunday, Peterson said. During those times, traffic will be diverted to the Legacy Highway or U.S. 89.
“The contractor is only allowed to close I-15 five times during the project,” Peterson said.
The seventh bridge, the one at 400 North, may be built in place, Peterson said.
“We just put the project out to bid with three qualified bidders being considered,” Peterson said. That contractor will be announced in November.
The bridges and Express Lane work are expected to be complete by the fall of 2015.
Peterson outlined the project to the state’s Transportation Commission last week. At that meeting, another major road project between Draper and Lehi was announced.