In 1996, to address the predicted increase in auto and truck traffic from Utah’s record-breaking growth, Governor Michael Leavitt proposed building the Legacy Highway, a 120 mile-long freeway west of and parallel to the existing I-15 freeway. The first segment built would be in Davis County but the suggested route encroached on valuable and critical wetlands of Great Salt Lake, which are protected by law. After a legal scramble, the courts ruled in UBET’s favor saying that there was a failure to consider alternative sequencing of the ‘Shared Solution’ and a failure to consider impacts to wildlife.
UBET opposed the Legacy Highway because it was the answer to the wrong question. The governor and highway planners were asking how to accommodate a predicted doubling of vehicles miles traveled (traffic) over the next 20 years while population grows by just 50 percent. UBET believed the better question to ask was how to reduce the predicted increase in traffic.
As a result of public participation, UBET and others succeeded in reframing the project as a Shared Solution to future travel demand, which includes robust transit development, improvements to I-15, and a Legacy Parkway designed for less impact. In an unprecedented partnership, UBET is working with the Utah Department of Transportation to create a modern parkway featuring slower speeds, a quiet road surface, no semi-trailer trucks, no billboards, a continuous community trail, and a protected nature preserve along the wetlands of the Great Salt Lake.
A Settlement Agreement (PDF) was signed on October 31, 2005 by UBET partners and the State of Utah following months of negotiations to find an acceptable compromise to the Legacy Parkway project in South Davis County.