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Bonanza Drive slated for makeover

Like homeowners whose family rooms and kitchens have endured generations of toddlers, teens, pets and piecemeal remodels to accommodate new uses, city officials are constantly prioritizing and budgeting for the next big redo.

For Park City, the next major project entails tearing up Bonanza Drive to make way for a new water line. And since it has been a long time since Bonanza got new carpet and curtains, the city may use the water line project as an opportunity to move the furniture a bit.

Over the last three decades, Bonanza Drive has gone from an obscure locals’ cutoff to a major city artery. Before Deer Valley opened and the Deer Valley Drive was still just a walking path, Park Avenue was the preferred route into Old Town and a smattering of points beyond. But since then, traffic on Bonanza Drive has steadily grown and so has the number of destinations it serves.

These days almost everyone headed to and from Deer Valley (both Snow Park and Silver Lake) uses Bonanza Drive. It is also the main ingress and egress for all of the new projects on Empire Pass.

At the same time, Bonanza is also twisting through a growing commercial district in Prospector with impatient drivers waiting to turn into driveways and intersections between Kearns Boulevard and Deer Valley Drive.

So, faced with the need to dig a seven-foot-deep by 10-foot-wide trench down the middle of Bonanza from Kearns Boulevard to the corner of 12th Street and Woodside, Park City staffers wisely commissioned a comprehensive traffic study of the about-to-be-repaved-anyway road.

In brief, the Bonanza Drive Reconstruction report suggests that 80 percent of the traffic generated by Deer Valley uses Bonanza Drive, that cyclists and pedestrians also travel that route and, based on the current rate of growth, by the year 2016, it will be virtually impossible to turn off of or onto Bonanza Drive in the North of Main (NoMa) commercial district.

This Thursday the Park City Council will begin to talk about the project in the hopes of starting design work this May and construction in the spring of 2009.

During the discussions the council will have to make decisions about the intersections at Prospector Avenue and Iron Horse Drive as well as amenities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users.

The Bonanza Drive Reconstruction talks are separate from the ongoing city walkability study but at some points could dovetail with those circulation issues.

The Bonanza Drive traffic study is scheduled for a preliminary presentation during city council’s work session Thursday at 3:40 p.m. The public is welcome to attend, though input will not be taken until later in the process. Nevertheless, given residents’ growing concerns about traffic in Part City and the potential havoc and/or improvements this project could inflict, citizens should pay close attention.


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