UDOT faces criticism over $610 million allocation for West Davis Corridor

Posted at 9:24 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 23:24:50-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- UDOT now knows how they'll be spending $1 billion in funding for road projects.

The Utah Transportation Commission gave the green light Friday on allocating the bond money, which was passed by the legislature during the last session.

The areas impacted include I-15 through Salt Lake Valley, Bangerter Highway, and the not-yet-built West Davis Corridor.

It's the last project that's causing concern with some groups like Utahns for Better Transportation.

The proposed highway would exit off I-15 near Farmington, and head west and north up into Weber County.

UDOT said the highway will help congestion in the area.

"This area is going to experience a tremendous amount of growth over next several decades," said John Gleason, a UDOT spokesman.

Friday morning, the Transportation Commission divvied $610 million of the $1 billion bond toward the West Davis Corridor.

Gleason said they've been working on the project for seven and a half years, and there's still quite a bit of work to do.

"We're getting close," he said. "Over the next few months, we'll be putting forward our final environmental impact statement."

Roger Borgenicht, co-chair of Utahns for Better Transportation, said they're waiting to see that statement.

"I think that makes logical sense that we know what all the pros and cons, the impacts of this highway would have," he said.

But until that happens, he said he doesn't think the state should be handing out money for the project.

"I think there are a lot of questions," he said.

Questions like, how will the highway impact parks and wetlands in the area? Will it be built to model Legacy Parkway? And, is building the West Davis Corridor really the best answer?

"If there is a good solution, then funding comes afterwards," Borgenicht said.

He said he'd like to see more emphasis on FrontRunner, and improving the arterial roads that connect I-15 to the western parts of Davis and Weber counties.

Gleason said UDOT has looked at 51 alternatives, and incorporated concerns into the environmental impact statement.

"We've really taken some of the best suggestions that we've been offered," he said.

Once that environmental impact statement is released, he said the public will have 30 days to comment.

If UDOT moves ahead, he said they'd start construction in 2020.