Trail project on S.R. 32 way over budget |

Trail project on S.R. 32 way over budget

Patrick ParkinsonOf the Record staff

Paving an eight-foot wide non-motorized trail along State Road 32 between Oakley and Marion could cost taxpayers twice as much as expected.

Summit County officials underestimated costs in several parts of the project’s budget, according to a report from the Utah Department of Transportation.

"We are really surprised at what came back," lamented Trish Murphy, a trail planner in Summit County. "What it adds up to is a lot of money."

Facing a $300,000 budget shortfall, an additional $160,000 could be required from county taxpayers to fund the project, because officials might have underestimated the costs for items like silt fencing, road excavation, a retaining wall and traffic control during construction.

"The trends have shown that these items consistently come in high," Summit County Engineer Derrick Radke explained.

The so-called "red flag analysis" identifies components of the budget "that have typically gone as overruns on previous local government contracts," Murphy said.

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"They may or may not come to fruition," she added.

This week the Summit County Commission agreed to fund the budget shortfall by committing to spend about $314,000 to build a 1.5 mile trail along S.R. 32 in South Summit.

"To spend $300,000 to get a mile and a half of trail is still an incredible deal," Murphy claimed. "You can’t build a mile and a half of asphalt trail anywhere for much less than that."

County officials had agreed to spend about $106,000 because federal grants were going to cover most of the costs.

"I’m sure we can find the money, the question is, would we want to do this with the costs escalated?" Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer asked.

For nearly five years wetlands mitigation and bickering among landowners have delayed completion of the trail.

Different alignments were debated for trail including building it along a diversion canal in South Summit that flows between the Weber and Provo rivers.

"It would be good to get the trail in there. I just wish it could have been done four or five years ago," Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme said.

Woolstenhulme asked if building the trail would result in someone filing a lawsuit against the county.

"There are a few landowners who are going to be unhappy," Murphy replied.