For Morgan County residents, a majority of whom regularly commute outside county boundaries into Davis and Weber counties, a planned overhaul of U.S. 89 could significantly impact their travels.
The Utah Department of Transportation is now taking public comment about their plans to reconstruct a 9.6-mile stretch of Highway 89 between Farmington and South Weber, increasing lanes from four to six. Plans also call for the elimination of traffic signals on major cross-streets, improving traffic flow and safety, according to a draft state environmental study available at http://www.udot.utah.gov/us89/. The purpose also includes improved regional and local mobility; enhanced linkage between Interstate 15, Interstate 84 and Highway 89; and keeping up with current and future travel demand.
During construction “those traveling through the area would experience traffic congestion, delays and detours,” according to the study.
What is now an 11-minute drive from South Weber to Farmington during the morning commute could take 48 minutes in 2040 due to a projected 40 percent increase of daily traffic, if the freeway isn’t expanded.
UDOT is holding a public hearing Jan. 16 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Davis High School, 325 Main Street in Kaysville. Comments will also be accepted through Feb. 3 by email at email@example.com or by mail at P.O. Box 1033, Farmington, UT 84025.
From Farmington’s Shepard Lane to I-84 in South Weber, the 100-year-old Highway 89 also passes through Fruit Heights, Kaysville and Layton.
“Municipalities within and near the study area are transitioning from rural residential and agricultural to residential suburbanized and commercial,” according to the study. “This growth is leading to increased travel demand on Davis County’s regional north-south travel corridors. U.S.
89 is a vital system link between I-15 and I-84. In 2040, if no improvements are made, travel times will increase substantially. Currently, U.S. 89 is operating at failing conditions. In 2040, if no improvements are made, congestion will worsen and the corridor will continue to operate at failing conditions.
“A high number of crashes are occurring that are related to signalized intersections where there are sudden speed or land changes associated with traffic congestions. The frequency of crashes involving wildlife along this corridor is also high.”
The proposed six-lane “freeway” considered interchanges at (going south) South Weber Drive, State Route 193, Antelope Drive, Gordon Avenue, Oak Hills Drive, Crestwood Road, 400 North, Nicholls Road and Main Street. Four of those interchanges—Antelope Drive, Gordon Avenue, Oak Hills Drive and 400 North—would align either over or under U.S. 89, according to the study.
The proposal would have some environmental consequences including making roadway out of almost 29 residential and commercial acres; three recreational facilities—Davis Park Golf Course, Nicholls Park and Adams Canyon Trail Head parking lot; and 0.4 acres of the Antelope Drive park-and-ride.
In addition, existing bus stops would be removed from U.S. 89; 20 residences, one business and one municipal water tank would be relocated; three existing businesses would be displaced; 10 historic buildings and one archaeological site would be adversely affected; 0.26 acres of wetlands would be impacted; and wildlife fencing would be installed to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Bicyclists and pedestrians would be restricted from using U.S. 89 while UDOT works with local municipalities to designate a bike route east of U.S. 89 in the affected area. Those with homes near the roadway could see a change in their views due to increased pavement widths and construction of crossings, interchanges and noise walls.
The original draft was released for public comment in August of 2017, and revisions were made in December after public input was received.
“Comments received from the public expressed concerns about widening U.S. 89 including direct impacts to property, impacts to property values, and impacts from noise,” according to the December draft. “The public also expressed concerns regarding the necessity of the project, and suggested alternative solutions such as completing a connection from westbound I-84 to southbound I-15, improving transit options, widening I-15, or removing truck traffic from U.S. 89.”