On April 18 UDOT Mountain Green Corridor Study Project Manager, Chris Chestnut, presented the plans for the Mountain Green Corridor study to the County Council. The study is part of the first steps in creating the sought-after interchange in Mountain Green. Overwhelming public support was in attendance to the meeting. Citizens spanning from Mountain Green to Porterville stood to voice support for the construction of the interchange, and also speaking against the proposed option of widening Old Highway Road. UDOT has a process to planning projects like the interchange, called a corridor planning process.
The purpose of the corridor study is to review and understand current and future plans in Morgan County and the impact on transportation. Morgan County asked UDOT to complete the study to reevaluate the current ranking and phasing of the Mountain Green Interchange. UDOT ranks roads and their efficiency on a scale of A-F, F being a failing level of service. A-B would mean traffic is flowing well. The study has already assessed the roads based on existing conditions and projected into the future to 2040 what the level of service would be with three different options. #1: Keeping the current interchange and not adding a new interchange. #2: Creating a new interchange #3: Keeping the current interchange and adding a new interchange. With anticipated projected growth on keeping the current interchange as is, the study projected the level of service would fall to a possible D rating. This could prove difficult if new commercial development is added to Mountain Green with already planned residential development.
There are two stages in the corridor planning process. The first stage is to understand the context of a project on economic levels, the natural environment, the transportation issues, and risk and resiliency, meaning what other options are there in the community, or if there is anything else that must be put in place before constructing the interchange
The second stage is the corridor master plan. The master plan details everything that needs to be considered to the smallest detail.
Chestnut said, “The core refining process helps make the right decision and the best decision for the community and the transportation division. The goals and objectives should be connected.”
UDOT has held one meeting to date with a group of stakeholders discussing the interchange. The meeting allowed the stakeholders to better understand what is happening in Morgan County, what the goals of the interchange are, safety and security for vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, as well as the environment needing to be protected. The next step involves the more detailed corridor analysis to consider potential issues over a tentative 8-month time frame. Some of the next steps include: Traffic data collection (approximately 40 days to complete), Future projections and Conditions (takes approximately 35 days), Concept development/Potential Corridor development, and creating a public involvement plan.
Chesstnut said of the time it takes to create a new interchange, “I know this [interchange] has been discussed for a long time and this seems like just more study, I appreciate that sentiment, but the purpose of the study is to take into account changes that have happened since previous studies. There are some different things to think about. Economic development, safety issues, selling of land, we need to understand everything better so we can create an interchange that will solve these problems.”
UDOT and the county council are scheduling work sessions where they could work through technical details and issues and presenting draft level plans. Public could be invited to attend, though questions and discussion won’t be entertained at this time. Meetings are planned to commence either May 16 or May 23.