UDOT does not plan to pursue Rail Trail road | ParkRecord.com

UDOT does not plan to pursue Rail Trail road

Position will likely ease some of the community concerns that arose in the summer

An open house focused on the future of the S.R. 248 entryway was held on Tuesday with representatives of Park City and the Utah Department of Transportation. An environmental assessment is underway as road-capacity improvements are considered.
Courtesy of Park City Municipal Corp. and UDOT

The Utah Department of Transportation said on Thursday it does not anticipate pursuing a transit corridor along the route of the Rail Trail as it parallels the S.R. 248 entryway into Park City.

The statement will likely ease some of the community concerns that arose in the summer as it was publicized state transportation officials planned to consider road-capacity improvements on the entryway.

Steve Quinn, who is the project manager for the Department of Transportation, provided an overview during an interview, saying the department has “pretty much ruled it out.”

“It is highly unlikely it will ever be brought as an alternative,” he also said.

Alfred Knotts, who is the transportation planning manager at City Hall, said in an interview at the same time officials identified a series of issues with a Rail Trail route since the summer. There are conservation protections on parts of the land as well as threatened or endangered plants along the route, he said. Knotts said the Rail Trail is classified as a recreational resource, which would require a more intensive process.

“We’ve identified significant constraints,” Knotts said about a transit corridor along the route of the Rail Trail.

There was outcry in the Park City area when it was publicized the Rail Trail route was under consideration, even in the early part of the discussions. The Rail Trail is a popular spot for hikers and bicyclists in the summer and snowshoers and cross-country skiers in the winter. There was also dismay in Prospector about the possibility of building a transit corridor on the edge of the neighborhood.

The Utah Department of Transportation, though, continues to conduct an environmental assessment of the S.R. 248 corridor between U.S. 40 and S.R. 224. The stretch of the state highway is busy with drivers headed to and from Park City from parts of the Snyderville Basin, the East Side of Summit County and Wasatch County. Transportation officials say the road fails at some points.

The state and Park City will consider other ideas for the corridor as well as the possibility of not making changes, known as a no-build option. An open house is planned on Tuesday in Park City. State transportation officials and City Hall staffers will present ideas and answer questions. Quinn said officials want to gather opinions regarding aesthetics, air quality, noise, safety and commute times.

Quinn said an alternative is expected to be selected late in the spring of 2018 and will be followed by the drafting of an environmental document late in 2018. A design phase would be next if a project is pursued. He said a groundbreaking on a project could occur as early as the spring of 2020.

The open house is scheduled on Tuesday from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Treasure Mountain Junior High. For more information, call 602-7440 or email sr248improved@utah.gov. More information is also available at: udot.utah.gov/sr248improved.

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