Crowd wants reversible lanes
October 7, 2008
James Keesler lives on Cochise Court, on the eastern edge of Prospector and just off busy S.R. 248.
If the state highway, which is known as Kearns Boulevard for a stretch inside the Park City limits, is someday expanded to four lanes from its current two lanes, Keesler figures he might just move.
A four-lane highway would quicken the pace of development and attract many more construction vehicles to the road, Keesler said this week during an open house focused on S.R. 248.
"I would sell my house on Cochise and move out to Summit County, where we own 40 acres" close to Wanship, Keesler said during the Tuesday gathering at Shadow Ridge Resort Hotel and Conference Center, where City Hall officials, Summit County Council candidates, consultants and regular Parkites met to talk about the road.
Keesler said he has lived in Park City for 23 years and would support an idea to build a carpool or bus lane on S.R. 248, as long as officials convince him people will use the buses. He added studies must be done to determine the impacts on the environment of work on S.R. 248.
"I certainly don’t want to bring my child up next to a four-lane highway," he said.
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About 30 people attended the open house, choosing their preferred solution to traffic backups on S.R. 248. They overwhelmingly supported an idea to install reversible lanes.
Under that idea, S.R. 248 would have three lanes, with the center lane carrying inbound or outbound traffic depending on the time of day. Traffic in the center lane would be inbound in the morning and outbound in the evening.
S.R. 248 serves scores of commuters from the eastern parts of the Snyderville Basin, the East Side of Summit County and Wasatch County, and traffic jams on the road are some of the worst in Summit County.
Park City, Summit County and state officials are considering the options to upgrade the stretch of S.R. 248 on the entryway. Complaints from commuters have been widespread in recent years.
A study has found the drive on S.R. 248 in rush-hour traffic takes 11 or 12 minutes between S.R. 224 and U.S. 40, more than twice as long as it would without traffic. But the consultants on Tuesday indicated the rush-hour commute on S.R. 248 by 2020 could take 33 minutes inbound in the morning and 46 minutes outbound in the evening, if no measures are taken.
Laynee Jones, the lead consultant, said she expects to provide Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council an update of her work in mid-October, and she plans to recommend an option to the City Council in November. The Utah Department of Transportation will be heavily involved at that point, and Jones said the state department will require a series of studies.
Jones said she has not finalized an estimated cost for the options, but she plans to present price tags to the City Council during the upcoming discussions. Options other than the reversible lanes include widening the highway and building lanes for buses with shorter red lights than those for cars.
Omer Nandar, who lives in Deer Mountain and works for a car-rental company in Park City, commuting to work on S.R. 248, said he would support expanding the road to four lanes. He estimated it takes him between 15 and 20 minutes to drive into Park City on S.R. 248.
Nandar, who is from Chicago, said the traffic is terrible elsewhere compared to the backups on S.R. 248.
"I’ve seen the worse," he said. "I laugh at what they whine and cry about."