UDOT to consider changes to West Davis Corridor

Posted at 6:08 PM, Sep 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-25 18:25:55-04

FARMINGTON -- Now that three federal agencies have frowned upon parts of the proposed West Davis Corridor, the Utah Department of Transportation tells FOX 13 it will consider changes to the route.

The Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have all said they have issues with the proposed extension of the Legacy Parkway, which would extend from Farmington to Ogden.

"In the Farmington area, they have concerns about Farmington Bay and the wildlife in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem," said Randy Jefferies, the UDOT West Davis Corridor project manager. "In Layton, there's a section and up on the north end in West Point."

Jefferies said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to grant a permit when an application is made, but the organization is asking for adjustments to UDOT's proposal.

"There are some areas they would like us to look at alignment shifts, away from the natural environment," Jefferies said in an interview with FOX 13 on Monday. "We'd like to talk to them about those. There's trade-offs with impact to the built environment."

As it has prepared to build the proposed road, UDOT has also been flooded with comments from residents in Davis County about where it should go. UDOT has said its preferred choice is beginning at Glovers Lane in Farmington, prompting howls of protest. Others are protesting a proposed starting point at Shepard Lane along the Farmington-Kaysville border.

"UDOT has created a false dilemma where they've given people two bad choices and said essentially, 'You need to choose one of these two bad choices,'" said Todd Karl Jenson, an attorney and member of the group "Save Farmington," which opposes the West Davis Corridor.

Environmentalists, citizen groups and others have pushed back against any road at all. Jenson said instead, they would like to see improvements to existing east-west roads that connect to Interstate Highway 15. UDOT said that by 2040, housing and population in Davis County is expected to double and with it, congestion.

"With the population growth, we have to do something," said Jenson. "But building a freeway is probably the worst option for the Wasatch Front, especially when our air quality is already so bad. Building more freeways is only going to cause more bad pollution."

Jefferies said UDOT planned to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week to discuss ways to mitigate wetlands and keep the West Davis Corridor moving forward. The $600 million road project is still unfunded at this point.

"All alternatives are on the table until a final decision is made," he said. "So as we work together with the agencies and other stakeholders to understand their concerns, make adjustments, we may see some of the alternatives come back as UDOT's recommendation. We may see shifts of the current recommendation."