Park City schools start this week amid Kearns Boulevard traffic headaches |

Park City schools start this week amid Kearns Boulevard traffic headaches

A waterworks project along Kearns Boulevard continues as the first day of classes in the Park City School District arrives. The Park City Police Department plans to have a presence on Kearns Boulevard later this week for the first day of school as part of the agency’s ongoing patrols in the vicinity of the School District campus.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Kearns Boulevard outside the Park City School District campus is well known as perhaps the worst traffic chokepoint in the Park City area during the school year.

And with a major waterworks project continuing along Kearns Boulevard as the start of the school year this week arrives, drivers could be dreading the backups. But a City Hall official early in the week said the lines of cars are not expected to be much worse than is typical. The first day of school for in-person classes is Thursday for kindergarteners through 12th-graders.

Crews are installing two water lines between Wyatt Earp Way and the municipal waterworks facility on Three Kings Drive. The work has been ongoing along Kearns Boulevard in the summer, requiring lane restrictions and causing regular backups. It is a two-phase project with the second phase scheduled in 2021.

Griffin Lloyd, the public utilities engineer at City Hall, said the work by Monday was up to three weeks ahead of schedule. The pipe work between the Kearns Boulevard intersections with Wyatt Earp Way and Bonanza Drive has been completed, meaning the traffic impacts run on Kearns Boulevard west of the Bonanza Drive intersection. Kearns Boulevard outside the School District campus is open with all lanes available, he said.

“The traffic will be similar to what it is today,” Lloyd said.

He said the project team reached the goal of having progressed to the point where the work is west of the School District campus at the start of the school year. Many of the backups on Kearns Boulevard occur east of the campus, as drivers headed to the schools coupled with commuter and skier traffic overwhelms the road, which is part of the state highway system and also known as S.R. 248.

Lloyd said the stoplight at the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive was reprogrammed in early August to extend the green light for drivers in both directions on Kearns Boulevard.

Lloyd also said all trails and pedestrian-bicyclist tunnels are open as the school year begins. There are minor bicyclist and pedestrian detours in the vicinity of Bonanza Drive.

The Park City Police Department is readying for the start of the school year and is aware of the continuing work along Kearns Boulevard. Phil Kirk, a police captain, said there have been regular backups caused by the work. He said the roadwork could lead to additional problems with drivers cutting through Prospector as they attempt to avoid the backups on Kearns Boulevard. That route could be “more tempting,” he said, indicating the Police Department will be enforcing restrictions on left turns from Kearns Boulevard into Prospector. Kirk said the police will also conduct crosswalk enforcement in coming weeks.

The Police Department’s school resource officer will return to the interior of the buildings and will be available for duties that include, if needed, assisting in maintaining social distancing and mask rules. Kirk said the agency is interested to learn how many students opt to attend classes in person rather than taking online courses.

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