BOUNTIFUL - Within the next week or two, orange barrels will begin appearing along the side of I-15 through south Davis County, heralding a major project that will add express lanes and replace bridges.
The $117 million project will extend express lanes from the north I-215 interchange to U.S. 89/Park Lane in Farmington.
It will also replace aging bridges at 2600 South, 1500 South, 500 South and 400 North, and reconfigure the I-15 interchanges at 2600 South and 500 South. The work is expected to take 16 months.
Work is slated to begin April 18.
“The project can best be described as a remodel,” said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Vic Saunders. It will be kept within the freeway’s current footprint, with the express lanes added between the north and southbound lanes.
Construction will mainly be done overnight, to keep traffic logjams to a minimum, but UDOT officials say that for the plan to succeed, 20 percent of daily traffic will have to be removed to alternate routes like the Legacy Parkway and U.S. 89 and motorists will be asked to shift to public transportation.
“The Legacy Highway will be critical to relieving traffic congestion,” said Project Director Nathan Peterson.
Current motorists will be offered incentives to use public transportation.
“We’ve partnered with UTA so that motorists will be offered seven-day passes on a first-come, first-served basis to use FrontRunner and Trax,” Peterson said.
That is especially important for motorists who commute regularly from Weber County to Salt Lake County.
There are some 165,000 trips taken daily on I-15 through south Davis County, Saunders said. 85,000 of those are coming from Weber County.
However, the I-15 south Davis team is aware that anytime there are orange barrels, traffic can stall as “rubber neckers” slow to get a look at what’s going on.
There will also be temporary “side-friction” slow-downs as a result of lanes having to be narrowed along the 11-mile route.
The plan calls for express lanes to eventually run from 31st Street in Ogden to Santaquin, making it the longest continuous express lane in the nation, Peterson said.
“People who use the express lanes really like them,” Peterson said. They like that they can get in the lane and go. The lanes, that require at least two people travel in cars using them, are also better on the environment, taking another car off the road and improving air quality, he said.
The project also aims to improve active transportation for bicyclists and pedestrians through south Davis County, with improved facilities at 500 South, 400 North and a new pedestrian bridge at Parrish Lane.
Work on the 500 South and 2600 South interchanges will require innovative designs such as the divergent diamond intersection and the continuous flow intersection that have been used on other UDOT projects.
UDOT has been working on plans for the project for several years. Funding is coming from both the federal and state coffers.
More information can be found at udot.utah.gov/i15southdavis or through a toll-free hotline at 888-966-6624.