Summit County commissions independent review of Kilby Road
Summit County officials maintain that they got it right with the redesign of Kilby Road, despite receiving an overwhelming amount of criticism from the community after it was complete.
While the criticism appears to have subsided, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher still thought it would be beneficial to commission an independent peer review of the project. Fisher approved a $2,330 contract with RB&G Engineering, Inc., earlier this month.
The Provo-based engineering firm will be analyzing the county’s plans for Kilby Road, the actual design of the road to determine if it meets the standards for roadway building, and the construction of the project itself, Fisher said.
“We heard the criticism go on for so long it made sense from the County Council’s perspective, as well as my own, to have someone else with the expertise take a look at it,” he said. “We are still very confident that it is correct. But, we want to confirm that.”
The county has been inundated with complaints about the redesign of Kilby Road since the project was finished, especially on social media. County officials said the project was intended to help traffic flow better while reducing congestion and speeding.
The county widened the road from Ecker Hill Middle School to Quarry Village and constructed new roundabouts in front of the new park-and-ride lot and the middle school. Several medians were installed as traffic-calming measures, which creates a “winding” or “snake-like” design. The medians have prompted most of the complaints.
People are concerned that the design forces cars into the new bike lanes and is unsafe for cyclists. The county has since widened the lanes in certain spots, but some say it hasn’t solved the problem. Other complaints concerned whether snowplows will be able to maneuver around the medians in the winter.
Fisher likened the review to the annual independent financial audit the county performs each year. He added, “It’s pretty common.”
“We do these types of things all the time and we compare ourselves to other local governments in the type of work that we do,” he said. “This one is a little more pointed because there has been criticism of the design. It’s certainly come to this type of peer review because of that criticism. But, it makes sense to do this every once in a while to make sure we are doing things correctly. If we find out something is wrong, we can make that correction so that the roadway remains safe.”
Fisher said few problems or accidents have occurred as a result of the road’s design so far and there were no reported issues with the trucks plowing the road during the most recent storm. But, he said that will be continuously monitored over the winter.
Fisher said the results of the review will be made available once it is complete. The contract with RB&G Engineering, Inc., ends on Dec. 31.
“We look at it as a positive review to verify what our staff is telling us and then to respond to the criticism to see if there is anything that needs to be corrected,” he said. “We stand by the design. It is still performing extremely well.”
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.