WOODS CROSS—Construction of the Legacy Parkway has been controversial since the beginning. However, it’s in place now and motorists take the scenic byway daily, skipping the bustling chaos of I-15.
Banning big trucks and having a lower speed limit were part of the restrictions imposed to set the highway apart from the interstate. But that tranquility could end in 2020 due to a statute put in place by the legislature that the truck ban would “sunset” on Jan. 1, 2020. With that date looming, some of the cities that border the Parkway are pulling together to appeal to the legislature to keep the ban in place.
“The truck ban was part of the lawsuit settlement allowing the Legacy Parkway to be built,” said Gary Uresk, City Administrator for Woods Cross. “UDOT agreed with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that trucks would be banned on the parkway until 2020. The legislature put into statute the truck ban which was automatically set to be repealed on Jan. 1, 2020 per the agreement ending the lawsuit.”
Uresk brought a resolution before the Woods Cross City Council at last week’s meeting asking council members to consider approval to support the continuation of the truck ban.
“I just don’t want residents who live along there to wake up one morning and find tankers coming down the road and they say, ‘what happened?’” said Uresk. “A sound wall was not designed for the Legacy Parkway since the low noise pavement and the ban on trucks made it unnecessary. If the truck ban is lifted and trucks are allowed on the Parkway, the noise level will significantly increase adversely affecting adjacent residents.”
In a previous paper Uresk prepared for the council on the topic he pointed out that the concept for the Parkway was to create a special driving experience that was different than other major urban highways along the Wasatch Front.
“The absence of trucks adds to this different driving experience,” Uresk wrote. “Davis County residents should have this option available to them. Allowing trucks on the parkway will turn it into another I-15, destroying the special attributes of the Parkway that UDOT had in mind when it was designed as a Parkway.”
Other concerns were air quality and noise along the Legacy Parkway Trail. “Users of the Legacy Parkway Trail have commented about how quiet and peaceful it is,” wrote Uresk. “Allowing trucks on the Parkway will significantly diminish the quality experience trail users are currently experiencing.”
Woods Cross is not the only city concerned about the ban repeal. The Farmington City Council voted unanimously at its meeting last week to support a resolution supporting the extension of the Great Salt Lake Legacy Parkway Scenic Byway and renaming it The Great Salt Lake Scenic Byway with all the restrictions of the designation.
“The council was very supportive,” said Farmington City Administrator Dave Millheim. “We expect all the other cities in Davis County to unify around the same mode.”
North Salt Lake City Manager, Ken Leetham said a resolution on the truck ban will come before the council at the Nov. 21 meeting.
“My city could do a number of things,” he said. “They could deny it and let it expire, they could hold a public hearing or they could say it’s a good objective and get behind it. It wouldn’t surprise me if they say it’s a public issue so take it out to them.”
Leetham said right now stopping the ban is in the discussion stage so there isn’t a formal legislative bill in place yet. “We might see if Sen. Weiler or Rep. Edwards would sponsor the bill,” he said. “If all the cities are in agreement, the objective would be to come up with a strategy. The desire is to make it a permanent ban.”
Centerville City doesn’t have a resolution in place yet, said City Manager Steve Thacker. “I haven’t broached the subject with my council but it will probably be addressed. I knew that at some point in time trucks would be allowed and the prohibition would be lifted, just not that the cities might try to stop it.”
“It’s never too early to start on this,” said Leetham. “It’s almost 2018 and by the time we got a bill out it would be 2019 but we’d still be ahead of the sunset.”