Groundbreaking anticipated on Kimball Junction Transit Center in a few weeks
Summit County and Park City officials only need to gather a few more signatures before breaking ground on the Kimball Junction Transit Center nearly a year after the project was first permitted.
Officials anticipate heavy machinery will be on site sometime within the next few weeks, according to Summit County Manager Tom Fisher.
"Park City and ourselves (the county) have worked out the details for the construction contract and have selected a contractor," Fisher said. "We have just been working with them to get the project within the budgeted dollar amount and I think we have almost all of the signatures required."
The Kimball Junction Transit Center will occupy a three-acre site between the Sheldon Richins Building and Landmark Drive, on the west side of State Road 224. The transit center is intended to reduce congestion by shortening bus trips and intercepting drivers on their way into Park City.
Officials had previously advertised a fall start date and expected the facility to be complete sometime around now. However, Fisher said officials delayed construction while conversations were taking place with some of the nearby property owners, including The Boyer Company, which owns the Park City Tech Park.
"Over the past year we had been hearing that there might be some action with some property owners in the area that could have had us rethinking what we were doing," Fisher said. "But none of those talks have become any more serious. If there was something to change, it would be several years out.
"We have a need to enhance our transit in order to help take a bite out of our traffic issues and we realized we need to move forward and not wait for those private development interests to come to their conclusions," he said.
While the project has been delayed, Fisher said the cost and design of the structure have not changed much during the process. The center is still expected to include space for at least 10 buses, a transit center, plaza and several parking spaces.
Residents had initially balked at the prospect of only 25 parking spaces being provided at the transit hub. However, Fisher said the city and county have selected an alternative option to allow more spaces to be constructed. He was unaware how many.
The project is scheduled to be completed in two phases, with the first phase of construction intended to make the transit center operational. A second phase would include a transit building, plaza and any additional features. A significant portion of the project is slated to be complete by Nov. 15.
The Federal Transit Administration awarded Park City Transit a $1.7 million grant last year for the $2.5 million project. Park City is contributing $450,000 and the county is adding another $750,000 for construction.
Blake Fonnesbeck, Park City Transit and public works director, said the center will be "such an integral part of the transit system," adding that it will help facilitate additional improvements to the system to make it more efficient. Fonnesbeck admitted more buses will be needed, but emphasized that "some readjusting and tweaking of our routes might take care of that."
"We are excited about this. We have been working on our short-range development plan
and this transit center was listed in our plan back in 2011," Fonnesbeck said. "You can see that we are excited to finally get this in place because it allows us to do so much with being able to have a point-to-point location, which is huge. It will make the system a lot more functional for us and gives us flexibility to really do some more neighborhood-type of things. It will be a nice flagship transit center and it will look great."
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.