Tunnel to connect Ecker Hill Middle School to new park-and-ride
Administrators at Ecker Hill Middle School started noticing a problem a couple of years ago. Students wanting to reach the bus stop on the opposite side of Kilby Road would frequently dart across the street in front of cars.
The school told Summit County’s transportation department of the issue when plans for a park-and-ride lot in the area started to take form. The county agreed to find a solution, and it is now building a tunnel as it undergoes a large construction project including the park-and-ride and roundabouts on the road.
The Park City Board of Education recently granted easements for the county to build the tunnel. Derrick Radke, public works director for Summit County, said that the tunnel will start on the northeast corner of the school and end at the new park-and-ride.
Radke said that the county did not consider a crosswalk on the road because students might not keep to the painted lines, and the crossing students could delay traffic.
He said that the tunnel will mostly be used by students, but it can also service those who leave their cars at the park-and-ride and attend events at Ecker Hill Middle School in the summertime.
The roundabouts under construction near the school are designed to help with traffic flow and allow school buses and cars to make safer left-hand turns, Radke said. He said that the park-and-ride is not expected to add more traffic because of the road improvements being made.
To increase safety for those who use the tunnel, Radke said that the county will install cameras in both the tunnel and the parking lot. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office plans to patrol the area on a regular basis as well. There will also be wildlife fencing between the park-and-ride and the freeway.
The tunnel is expected to cost about $600,000 to construct. Radke said that some of the money is coming from a transportation sales tax, but the bulk of the budget is from a $5.5 million assessment bond from Canyons Village Management Association. About 200 spots in the park-and-ride will be reserved for Canyons Village employees. The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District will contribute about $300,000, as well, since it uses the school for events, Radke said.
The project is expected to be completed by October. Radke said that the county hopes to complete the construction on the roundabouts by the time school starts next month. Officers from the Sheriff’s Office plan to be at the school during the first few days of the school year to help direct traffic.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.