Park City entryway idea from UDOT spurs ‘Save PC Hill’ effort
Rick Wallace lives on a part-time basis in Prospector with a clear view of PC Hill from his backyard.
His place on Cochise Court, essentially two blocks from S.R. 248, provides Wallace easy access to the state highway and gives him firsthand knowledge of the traffic backups that have worsened over the years to the point the Utah Department of Transportation is considering a major project to address the situation.
But Wallace, like many others, is concerned with the ideas outlined by state transportation officials in recent weeks as they provide details and explain the reasoning. Wallace has launched an effort known as “Save PC Hill” in response to the ideas for S.R. 248.
It is not clear whether Wallace’s effort will be made into a formal movement, but the idea of linking the concept for S.R. 248 to PC Hill could become a rallying cry for Parkites in opposition to the state Department of Transportation. PC Hill, located just off S.R. 248, is a community landmark with the letters “PC” high on the hillside visible from numerous vantages.
Wallace, an attorney who has had a home in Prospector for 16 years, said in an interview he is focused on the stretch of S.R. 248 between the intersection with Wyatt Earp Way and Richardson Flat Road. He does not take a position on the idea for S.R. 248 closer to the Bonanza Drive and Park Avenue intersections.
“It would certainly be cut up,” Wallace said about PC Hill. “The cut, in my view, will be massive.”
The Department of Transportation has made public a preferred alternative for the S.R. 248 entryway that envisions an expansion of the state highway to five lanes between the U.S. 40 interchange and the intersection with S.R. 224. The 3.1-mile stretch of road has long been problematic as backups worsened over the years. It is widely seen as perhaps Park City’s worst traffic chokepoint as lines of cars stretch from Prospector toward Quinn’s Junction. The Department of Transportation has based the idea on the projected traffic increases, saying there would be intersection failures without road improvements by 2040.
The preferred alternative of five lanes involves two lanes in each direction with a turning lane at most of the intersections. The road as it is currently configured ranges from three lanes to five lanes.
There appears to be early and widespread opposition in the community to the idea as Park City residents in Prospector, the closest neighborhood to the state highway, and elsewhere express concerns that a road project like the one outlined by the Department of Transportation would worsen the traffic situation. There is an argument that other ideas, such as expanding transit options along the S.R. 248 corridor, are preferable to widening the road.
Wallace suggested state transportation officials consider a phased approach to S.R. 248 that would start close to the intersection with Park Avenue. The Department of Transportation under that scenario could study the effects of work close to the Park Avenue intersection on the S.R. 248 corridor before considering additional measures on the entryway, he said. Wallace said it may be found at that point that additional work is unnecessary.
Wallace said the cut into PC Hill to provide the space for the work could extend upward 80 feet, saying he is worried about environmental damage and what he considers to be the likelihood of an “eyesore” on the entryway. He said the stretch of S.R. 248 outside the Park City School District campus rather than the section of road at PC Hill causes the backups.
“I think we would be destroying a landmark,” Wallace said, adding that a project would “upset the aesthetics.”
He compared the potential look of the S.R. 248 entryway under the Department of Transportation idea to the route of U.S. 189 through Provo Canyon, which prominently features retaining walls.
“It spoils the look and the feel of that area,” Wallace said.
Information about the Department of Transportation idea is available on the project website: udot.utah.gov/SR248improved.
Lochner c/o SR-248 EA
3995 South 700 East, Suite 450
Salt Lake City, UT
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Among the highlights from Wednesday’s Hops Hike was an impromptu geology lesson from a kilted man on the origins of the area’s mineral deposits.