Biz owners brace for construction
Major construction on Landmark Drive begins after the Fourth of July.
Crews will install a roundabout west of the Sheldon Richins Building and realign the road at Kimball Junction through the existing Wal-Mart parking lot. The new stretch of road will connect to the existing Landmark Drive northwest of Arby’s near the Best Western hotel.
Arby’s customers will still use the old Landmark Drive, which will be left in front of the store, to access the restaurant.
But Arby’s owner Rose Weixler says rerouting Landmark Drive through a roundabout will impact her business.
"I would leave it the way it is," Weixler said. "Sometimes they make changes and they are worse than the way it was before. Not everything that city planners do is an improvement."
But the Summit County Commission decided to proceed with the project even when the lowest bid from contractors was about 36 percent higher than traffic engineers expected.
"We made our best guess. We were wrong," County Engineer Derrick Radke said.
The county will not cut corners on lighting and landscaping to save money, Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.
"We don’t want to do a cheaper version of the project. You do it right or you don’t do it," County Commissioner Bob Richer added.
Completing the project will cost almost $8 million, Summit County Engineer Derrick Radke said, adding that costs for excavation and traffic control greatly exceeded the expectations.
"The project is necessary," he said. "One of our options [was] put it on hold and bid it out next winter."
The high cost for asphalt contributed to the budget overage, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said.
The county awarded the construction contract to Staker and Parson Companies June 18.
Different "legs" on the new roundabout, west of the Sheldon Richins Building, will provide drivers access to the new Landmark Drive, the Wal-Mart parking lot and the bypass road to Arby’s, Callahan explained.
"We’ve got the business community on our side," he said. "Access to those businesses is already being impaired."
Visitors will not travel to Park City and wait in traffic to reach the slopes, Callahan said, adding that traffic congestion at Kimball Junction is reaching critical mass.
"Resorts are all in competition with each other," Callahan said. "And people are likely to remember a bad experience."
Those leaving ski resorts in the winter experience the brunt of traffic gridlock at Kimball Junction, he said.
Expanding Landmark Drive from two lanes to four will help guide more efficient traffic patterns in the Snyderville Basin, Callahan said.
The contractor has about 80 days to complete the project and drivers should expect delays this summer as crews rush to pave the road by October.
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Court report: Week of June 22