Park City road project worries: ‘248 is going to become 224’
The Utah Department of Transportation, preparing to pursue a major road project along the S.R. 248 entryway, addressed Park City leaders on Thursday in a meeting that was cordial even as it seems there eventually could be tension in the community as the talks continue about the details of what would be especially ambitious work on the busy state highway.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council were not scheduled to make decisions about the project, and the elected officials of Park City are expected to have a limited role since it is a state project. State transportation officials instead appeared at the Marsac Building to provide an update about the plans. The meeting on Thursday was held less than a week before a scheduled open house with the project team that is slated for Wednesday.
The state officials have outlined a preferred alternative calling for the expansion of the state highway between U.S. 40 and S.R. 224 to five lanes from the current design of three lanes to five lanes. The Utah Department of Transportation says anticipated traffic increases are prompting the discussions. The designs would be modeled on the traffic counts forecast for 2040.
“There is a price to congestion,” Alfred Knotts, the interim transportation director, told the elected officials.
He said an option of building a roundabout at the intersection of S.R. 248 and S.R. 224 was studied but said such a measure would lead to gridlock. He also said the price of a tunnel on northbound S.R. 224 would be “astronomical.”
The five-lane design is the Utah Department of Transportation’s preferred alternative. Such a design would offer two lanes in each direction with a turning lane at most of the intersections. There would be bicycle lanes created along the route. Knotts said the design would offer more breaks in traffic for drivers making left turns onto S.R. 248 from neighborhoods.
The meeting did not draw a crowd, but future discussions could be better attended as the project is publicized. S.R. 248 is a heavily trafficked road that is used by people headed into and out of Park City from parts of the Snyderville Basin, the East Side of Summit County and Wasatch County.
One of the audience members, Park Meadows resident Chuck Klingenstein, said in an interview afterward he continues to learn about the ideas and said he was surprised there were not more members of the public at the meeting. He mentioned there were not alternative transportation options included. Klingenstein said the traffic could become heavier on S.R. 248 under the designs that were outlined.
“248 is going to become 224,” Klingenstein said, referring to the other state highway that serves as the primary entryway to Park City and adding, “We’re going to see S.R. 224, that model . . . is now going to be 248.”
He worried the S.R. 248 work could increase the number of speeding drivers. Instead, he said, officials should consider the possibility of building outlying parking lots coupled with transit routes that could intercept drivers before they reach the entryway.
“We’re about to induce more car growth and traffic growth into the city,” Klingenstein said.
The meeting on Thursday was held shortly before an important open house with the project team. It is scheduled on Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Treasure Mountain Junior High. More information is available on the project website: udot.utah.gov/SR248improved.
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