By Mayor Trent Staggs
Utah was recently ranked as having the best economy in the nation by 24/7 Wall Street. Due to our strong economic state, exciting tourism opportunities and world class amenities, people from all over the world are choosing to relocate to our great state. While we welcome growth, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to proactively plan and provide resources to properly handle this additional growth.
Much of this growth has taken place here in the southwest portion of Salt Lake County. In fact, almost 70% of all the growth taking place in the county since 2000 has taken place in our southwest communities. It is safe to say in decades past that previous leaders did not recognize what growth would be like. This of course has led to inadequate infrastructure and roadways. With no true east/west connection from the west side of the valley to I-15, we often deal with congestion near Bangerter Highway and Mountain View Corridor on 13400 S and 12600 S.
In an effort to mitigate some of this congestion, UDOT has listed the conversion of Bangerter Highway into a freeway as one of their top priorities. This includes funding for a much-needed interchange at the crossing of Bangerter Highway and 12600 S here in Riverton. I am pleased that construction for this project has commenced and over the next few months we will see several significant changes being made.
While this project is well on its way, there are a few key timelines that residents should be aware of. To complete the project by Fall 2021, there will be a full closure of 12600 S for east/west travel for six months beginning early next year. This closure will indeed create a temporary increase in travel time and congestion for residents who use 12600 S as their east/west connection since they will need to find an alternative route of travel.
Riverton City is currently constructing Old Liberty Way at 4150 W and 4050 W to connect 12600 S and 13400 S near Bangerter. Once completed, we hope by June 2021, this road will help mitigate some of the congestion caused by the temporary closure of east/west travel at 12600 S and Bangerter. It is my hope that during this time, residents will remain patient and look forward to the benefits that will be delivered by the completion of both of these important projects.
Now, the freeway style interchange at 12600 S and Bangerter is not a fix all for our transportation struggles, but it will help traffic flow significantly. As a city, we will continue to identify roadways and other infrastructure projects that need to be funded to improve traffic flow in our community. By planning for our short-term and long-term futures we will be able provide the infrastructure needed to keep up with the growth we will continue to see for the coming decade.
For more information on the Bangerter Interchange project and tentative timeline, you can visit: udot.utah.gov/bangerter12600south.