Study commissioned for Interstate 80 corridor
Summit County will take the helm of a transportation study that is being commissioned through Mountain Accord to find solutions to deal with the primary corridors that link the county to the Salt Lake Valley, including State Roads 224 and 248.
Caroline Ferris, Summit County regional transportation director, and Alfred Knotts, Park City’s transportation planning manager, will represent the county’s and city’s interests in the project, which is labeled as the I-80/Parley’s Corridor study.
The County Council will be the lead administrative body for project management and will issue the request for proposals. However, Mountain Accord will fully fund the study, estimated to cost about $400,000.
"The benefit of doing this study this way is that it opens us up to federal funding," Ferris said.
The first meeting between stakeholders is scheduled Friday, Oct. 23, at the Summit County Health Department. The parties participating in the study include the Utah Transit Authority, Utah Department of Transportation, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and Wasatch Front Regional Council.
According to County Council Chair Kim Carson, the potential to study the corridor under the auspices of Mountain Accord was the sole reason she voted to stay in the process. Carson was concerned the scope of the study appeared limited to Interstate 80 and would disregard the two main points of entry for Park City.
During a recent County Council meeting, Knotts assured council members the study will include State Roads 224 and 248, as well as other smaller links in Salt Lake County.
"To pique the interest of all parties, that was the primary marketing aspect," Knotts explained. "But it does include those linkages to those nodes."
County and City officials have long been pressured to re-examine State Roads 224 and 248 to ease the congestion at peak times, often referring to last December’s ‘Carmageddon’ as evidence of the problem.
Knotts says the transportation subcommittee was formed once the idea of a tunnel connecting Park City ski resorts to those in the Cottonwood Canyons was nixed. He said the regional focus is now shifting to the Interstate 80 corridor.
"I would like to get a preferred alternative out of this. A solid recommendation that we can move forward with and then try and secure funding to get some things done," Knotts said. "These alignments will require some surveying, and not just conceptually, to really to come up with preliminary engineering designs and to develop feasible alternatives."
Although the scope of the study hasn’t been clearly defined, it will explore a variety of transportation alternatives that could include trains and aerial connections. Officials are hoping to explore short-term and long-term transportation and planning solutions as part of the study.
The project could be a multi-year process, Knotts said, adding a timeline has yet to be established.
"We are not talking about a light rail necessarily. But there are certain technologies that may work toward having expedited services intermodal and multi modal connections from down in the valley," Knotts said. "We want to manage growth and proactively address it through transportation and make sure we are providing solutions to what might be coming forth in terms of growth."
As the Mountain Accord process transitions into the second phase, the Interstate 80 corridor study will be one of several conducted, that will also include a Little Cottonwood Canyon study and an examination of land swaps and federal land designations.
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