At the county council meeting on Tuesday night the issue of a freeway interchange in Mountain Green was discussed. The conclusion – no interchange is in the near future.
Rumors of a plan from UDOT to construct the interchange have been circulating in the county for many years. Chairman Creager asked the parties to attend the council meeting to help inform the council and the general public on the plans for the Interchange.
In additional to the council, those attending the meeting included Mark Miller, County Engineer; Jason Davis, three representatives from UDOT; Becky Zimmerman, Snow Basin; Sam Clem – WFRC; and the Johnson Family, who owns land where one of the sites for the interchange could be.
The representatives from UDOT reviewed the criteria for setting priorities on interchange projects. Priorities are determined by a number of factors, including traffic flow, delays, and traffic congestion. The highest priority project, at present, is the interchange in Sunset at 1800 North. This project scores a 75 on the priority scale. The Mountain Green interchange currently scores five on this scale. It has the lowest rating of those currently on the UDOT list for consideration. Their current plan considers project through 2030. Based on the current needs and priorities UDOT expressed that they did not believe the interchange would be constructed in that time frame.
Snow Basin also reported that they had done a traffic study and based on their study that development would not require a new interchange. The traffic that they expect to be created from their development would be handled sufficiently from the existing freeway exits and entrances. Snow Basin is planning for growth that could ultimately include 2,500 units in Morgan County. There are currently less than 3,000 rooftops in Morgan County.
UDOT reported that one way the project could receive greater priority is if it was considered for economic development. To be considered for an economic development project the county would need to contribute fifty percent of the cost. UDOT reported that they expect that the project would likely cost $40 million dollars.
The county has also been doing work with the legislature to place a higher priotiy on the interchange. The request was favorably received from some state legislators, but no legislation was ultimately forthcoming. Chairman Creager told the council that unless the council continues to focus on this interchange as a priority he does not think that the project will move forward. He encouraged the incoming councilmembers to continue to work on this project.