Think Bonanza Drive is bad now? Just wait a few weeks |

Think Bonanza Drive is bad now? Just wait a few weeks

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Anybody who thinks driving on Bonanza Drive is bad now should hold off on that opinion for a few weeks.

It’s apparently going to get even worse.

The heavily traveled street is causing widespread traffic headaches as the roadwork continues. There are regular backups on Bonanza Drive and side streets during work hours as flaggers stop traffic. The traffic jams have even extended to parking lots on or near Bonanza Drive, as drivers line up to try to get out of the lots. Drivers, meanwhile, appear to be perilously close to the heavy machinery as they pass the construction site.

There will be similar scenarios for a little while. Then the situation could deteriorate even further. According to Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer, the Bonanza Drive-Iron Horse Drive intersection will close on Sept. 7 to allow the crews to install a pedestrian-bicyclist tunnel. The closure is anticipated to last four or five weeks.

Still, though, the city engineer said the work is largely proceeding as was planned.

"Believe it or not, Bonanza is relatively close on schedule . . . It doesn’t look it," Cassel said.

The project is expected to be completed by the beginning of November.

Cassel acknowledged the crews have encountered a few minor setbacks, including two or three breakages of an old water line underneath Bonanza Drive. They caused a delay of about one day, he said. There have been three unscheduled road closures, he said, each lasting two days. Two of the closures that were not anticipated were at the Bonanza Drive-Munchkin Road intersection.

Cassel said drivers trying to avoid the backups have been seen cutting through parking lots along Bonanza Drive. They have also been seen cutting through a parking lot at the Kearns Boulevard-Monitor Drive intersection, he said. A few have been spotted pulling U-turns on Bonanza Drive after encountering the backups.

He is anticipating some milestones in the coming weeks as well. He said the water-line and sewer work will be completed by the end of August, meaning that the driving lanes will be leveled. The driveways leading from Bonanza Drive to parking lots along the road will also be reopened by the end of August, he said, with temporary closures expected later.

"It makes it easier to access the businesses — a little easier time getting into and out of the businesses," Cassel said.

The Bonanza Drive roadwork, in its second year, had long been anticipated to create havoc along the important corridor. The road is heavily used by Parkites and commuters, and backups are common even without the roadwork. Last year’s work was staged closer to the Deer Valley Drive intersection, outside the commercial district of Bonanza Drive, and the impact were not as bad as they have been this year.

The crews are installing a water line and sewer line underneath Bonanza Drive and will build a pedestrian-bicyclist tunnel at the Iron Horse Drive intersection. Other improvements will include new streetlights and new sidewalks.

Businesses along Bonanza Drive have been worried about the work since before last year’s start of the project. There are scattered reports that the work has clipped sales in recent weeks along Bonanza Drive. Park City Councilwoman Cindy Matsumoto, a Bonanza Drive businesswoman, briefly mentioned the work at a Thursday City Council meeting, quipping that the project might never be finished.

At Booster Juice, a Bonanza Drive business that normally is popular in the summer, sales have cratered since the work started, Marilyn Darby, the owner, said, acknowledging that business is down by 65 percent since the roadwork started.

She said even her regular customers are not stopping by like they normally do. She wonders whether they will come in if they face a 20-minute drive to get to the store amid the roadwork.

"It’s hot. This is when I get all the visitors, all the kids," she said, adding, "Look what I’m doing. I’m standing here waiting for customers, praying they’ll come in the door."

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