The Utah Department of Transportation recently approved the purchase of 24 acres in Mountain Green. They plan to build a new interchange at Interstate-84 that would replace the current partial interchange at the mouth of Weber Canyon. Although the price tag was steep at $250,000 an acre, and the project itself is not slated to begin until the year 2040, UDOT was concerned that as the population continued to increase, as more businesses entered the area, and as more people used the present access to travel to recreational areas, the currently established infrastructure would quickly become unsuitable and the land would be more costly in the future, or unavailable.
Along with the land’s future availability, UDOT’s primary arguments supporting the purchase included the surrounding 225 acres slated for development in the near future. This acreage will feature several residential and commercial units, hotels, industrial property, and a grocery store serving as an anchor location. In addition, UDOT is anticipating an added 4,000 residents moving to the area and wants to ensure that its infrastructure will support such a sizable boom in the population. Although the price tag assuredly gave members of UDOT’s planning team pause, by beginning the planning stages now, including purchasing the land, the commission is hoping to be prepared to implement this portion of their project during their planned Phase 3 Long-range Transportation Plan.
Residents and business owners, however, are pushing UDOT to begin the interchange earlier, stating an ever-increasing need to cut down on the current traffic using the small two lane roadway. In addition, with the new middle school being built and new businesses and commerce coming to the area, residents are concerned that traffic issues will continue to escalate and will need to be addressed sooner than the two-decade timeline. UDOT agreed to investigate the feasibility of adjusting their timeline and accelerating their plans. Their analysis should be concluded in the spring of 2019 and a formal decision will be announced at that time.