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New UDOT plan lists Morgan projects

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The UDOT 2015-2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan puts Morgan County on the map for state road projects. The plan puts widening Highway 66 in the nearest future, moves a new Mountain Green Interstate 84 interchange up on the priority list, and adds a new Interstate 80 interchange on Highway 66 to the list. The plan, which is updated every four years, is now open for public comment at www.udot.utah.gov/go/lrp through April 30 and addresses needs in rural areas. Almost one mile of State Route 66 from Morgan City to I-84 (or Milepost 12.7 to 13.6) is set to be widened in phase 1 (2015-2024) for $10 million. The project would improve capacity and safety by adding travel lanes and/or turn lanes and managing access points as road serves downtown Morgan State Street to I-84 interchange, according to UDOT. UDOT is putting a new Mountain Green I-84 interchange in its Phase 3 (2035-2040) plans, up from the previous unfunded, long-range Phase 4 position. The interchange could cost $40 million in the future and involve a southern extension of Trappers Loop (State Route 167). I have been to town hall meetings at peoples homes, and I was absolutely shocked at how many people in Mountain Green want this, Morgan County Council Chairman Logan Wilde said. (All the council members) have all been hit with this, Councilman Robert Kilmer said. We are all in support of this. An Interstate 80 interchange with State Route 66 at Milepost 14.3 in Morgan County landed on the Phase 4 (unfunded) list. Studies Phase 1 (2015-2024) calls for the study of widening of 9.5 miles of Trappers Loop (State Route 167) from Milepost 1.6 to 11.1. Studies could contemplate future interchange locations as well. The project would widen the road to four lanes and carry a $57 million price tag. The actual widening is on tap for Phase 4. UDOT recently studied capacity, safety and access needs for the Mountain Green interchange at Milepost 94. A separate project calling for replacement of the half interchange in Phase 3 landed on the Phase 4 list. UDOT also conducted $1 million planning study of 10 miles of I-84 from Milepost 88 to 98 to evaluate capacity, safety, and access needs on I-84 through Weber Canyon based on overall growth in Wasatch Back travel demand, according to UDOTs website. They have done a feasibility study and identified the need, Wilde said. A similar $1 million traffic study was conducted for 13 miles of State Route 39, Ogden Canyon, from Milepost 9 to Milepost 22. A widening of the road for $64 million is also planned in the same area in future phases for $64 million. UDOT plans to coordinate the I-84 and SR-39 traffic studies, since Weber Canyon is considered a parallel alternative to Ogden Canyon, which has environmental constraints. Funding Although UDOT may be planning for a future I-84 interchange, Morgan County may have to come up with about 20 percent of the funding, Wilde said. And in the wake of the state legislative decision to cut Class B and Class C road fund and not increase sales taxes, counties all over the state may be forced to make up the short fall by raising taxes to maintain the current level of service. It doesnt give much hope of funding future million dollar interchanges. We will be in the red very soon, Wilde said. I am not sure where we will come up with our 20 percent. County officials hope some funds for a new Mountain Green interchange can come from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (or STIP). The final STIP list for 2015-2020 shows: $33 million for minor rehabilitation of 11 miles of Interstate 84 from Mountain Green to Morgan; $50,000 for a feasibility study of the Devils Slide Bridge; $1.7 million for Stoddard Lane over Weber River; $2.2 million for Morgan Valley Drive improvements; and $2.1 million for Morgan City roads 700 East, 300 North to 650 North. UDOTs STIP is a five-year plan for highway and transit projects using various federal and state funding programs. The STIP documents the states compliance with federal transportation requirements and is the basis for approval of federal-aid highway and transit funds by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). County officials still realize there is a real possibility Morgan County voters may have to face increasing taxes to fund road projects in the future. In my heart I know that will be a hard sale in Morgan County to raise sales tax, Wilde said. However, Councilman Robert Kilmer said that of all the tax increases that could be put on the ballot, something to fix roads may be the best accepted by Morgan County voters. We could get away with that, Councilman Austin Turner said.

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