October 15, 2014 | The Davis Clipper | Melinda Williams |
BOUNTIFUL — Utah Department of Transportation officials are taking a detailed look at the “shared solution” alternative to the proposed West Davis Corridor.
And opponents of the corridor are “very optimistic” their no-build plan will come through the evaluation process a winner.
“We’re looking at that alternative (the shared solution) the same as we would look at any alternative,” said Randy Jefferies, UDOT’s project manager for the corridor.
Jefferies was attending a Utah Transportation Commission meeting in Bountiful on Friday and took a break during the proceedings to speak with the Clipper.
“We’re giving it a detailed look and evaluating it with the other alternatives,” he said, adding that the agency has made no decision on which alternative may be chosen.
“The no-build alternative is always a possibility,” Jefferies said.
UDOT should know within the next couple of months if the no-build alternative meets the purpose and if it needs to advance it to a place where an Environmental Impact Statement would be conducted.
That thrills Roger Borgenicht, co-chair of Utahns for Better Transportation, a coalition of environmental groups that has opposed plans to build the road.
“I’m very optimistic that going forward, we’re going to get a fair shake,” Borgenicht said.
The West Davis Corridor is proposed as a 24-mile highway running from Centerville into Marriott-Slaterville in Weber County between the Great Salt Lake and I-15.
UDOT officials have looked at numerous alternatives for the road since 2010, but it came under fire in the fall of 2013 by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Complaints from the two agencies included that some of the proposed routes violated the federal Clean Air Act.
The environmentalists’ shared solution doesn’t build a new road, but incorporates better management of arterial roadways and connections with mass transit, as well as creating boulevard communities, where housing, jobs and services are close together.
UDOT has been meeting with cities and both Davis and Weber counties along the corridor’s route. They have also met with stakeholders to gather feedback on the alternatives to the road. Both Jefferies and Borgenicht have said such meetings have been productive.
“It’s been a very good process working with Randy,” Boregnict said, explaining Jefferies has worked with the experts brought in by Utahns for Better Transportation with information on the shared solution.
“The evaluation process has been very collaborative and very open with the cities, counties and the stakeholders,” Jefferies said. “It’s been eye-opening.”
Borgenict has also found UDOT’s Executive Director Carlos Braceras open, recognizing that transportation needs along the Wasatch Front will require roads and mass transit.
Members of the transportation commission took a tour of the route on Thursday.
Read more: The Davis Clipper – Shared solution considered for corridor