PARK CITY, Utah — Visitors to Park City know how the road leading from I-80 into town can become gridlocked, especially on a powder day, but a corridor plan now includes an option to bury that road altogether, according to a report from the Park City Record.
Progress on the plan has been slow, but the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) released a Kimball Junction Area Plan that includes three options to address traffic congestion at the junction of I-80 and S.R. 224, the road leading into town.
Also included in the corridor plan are development of a bus rapid transit system to shuttle riders from park-and-ride lots to Park City’s ski resorts and Main Street.
Community input led to elimination of an unpopular option to construct a road through the Hi-Ute conservation easement west of I-80.
The option supported by the Summit County Council would bury S.R. 224 and begin interstate on-ramps south of Olympic Parkway, the first of two intersections that drivers hit on their way north from Park City.
It was the most expensive of the three options included in the plan, with an estimated cost of $116.5 million, $20 million of which would be to cover the below-grade roadway.
These three alternatives will now proceed through a significant environmental review, which Summit County transportation planner Caroline Rodriguez said could take two years. This review is needed to receive state and federal funding.
State legislators included an earmark in a massive infrastructure bill specifically naming as a recipient of funds “an environmental impact study for Kimball Junction in Summit County,” but no specific price tag was included.
UDOT officials said they were surprised to discover that half of the traffic in Kimball Junction is heading to or between the shops and homes in Kimball Junction itself, rather than passing through the area to access the interstate.
“Ultimately, UDOT’s goal is not to build something that the local jurisdiction doesn’t want,” said Rodriguez. “They want support from the local jurisdiction.”