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I-15: Farmington to Salt Lake City

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US 89:
As covered in several news sources, such as this article from KSL and a UDOT press release, it looks like UDOT is in the early stages of planning a major I-15 reconstruction and upgrade from Salt Lake City north through southern Davis County.

This stretch of 15 has received considerably less attention recently than the parts south of downtown through Utah County. The part from Salt Lake to I-15 has never had a general-purpose lane added since it first opened in the 1960s, while original pavement from the early 1970s can still be found between Centerville and Farmington. There have been a couple of significant reconstruction and repavement projects along this stretch within the last 15 years, but the scope of this looks to be far greater, impacting all of I-15 between 400 South in SLC and the US 89/Legacy junction in Farmington.

Project website: https://i15eis.udot.utah.gov/
Interactive map: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/fa4a9f9635384196b0b137766e15c2ee


A look through the alternatives they've proposed for each section so far...

I-15 mainline:
Option A - upgrade the cross section to 5 general-purpose lanes plus an auxiliary lane in each direction (pretty much all of it is 3 or 4 today), maintaining the existing HOT lane as is
Option B - same GP lane upgrades, but replace the HOT lanes with a reversible 2-lane HOT roadway that would flow south in the mornings and north in the evenings. There would be no access in or out of the reversible roadway between the endpoints

Farmington:
Option A - no additional changes
Option B - add a SPUI at Glovers Lane
Option C - convert the existing partial 200 West/Lagoon Dr interchange to a full interchange.

Centerville:
Option A - add a new connection from the Parrish Lane northbound exit to the east-side frontage road, similar to what currently exists at 10600 South in Salt Lake County
Option B -  same, but also convert the Parrish Lane interchange to a SPUI

Bountiful:
Option A - revert the 500 South DDI back into a diamond, and convert the southbound 500 West exit from the current left-exit to a more traditional right exit.
Option B - same, but eliminates the southbound 500 West exit entirely and creates a new southbound 400 North exit
Option C - same as B, but completes the 400 North interchange and adds a C/D roadway for it and 500 South

North Salt Lake/Woods Cross:
Option A - relocate 800 West under I-15 to connect to Wildcat Way, independent of the 2600 South interchange which would be converted back to a diamond. Also remove NSL Center Street exit and create a brand-new road connecting I-215, I-15, and US 89, which would also replace the Beck Street basketweaves
Option B - same, but convert 2600 South into a SPUI

Salt Lake:
Option A - replace the 2300 North parclo with a new diamond interchange at 2100 North, which would cross the train tracks and provide access to US 89. The 1000 North and 600 North interchanges would be converted to standard diamonds and combined with a Texas-type frontage road between them
Option B - essentially combines the new 2100 North diamond and existing 1000 North exits from option A into a single diamond interchange that would both connect directly east to Beck Street and also allow a connection south to Rose Park. Existing 1000 North exit would be closed. No changes to current SPUI at 600 North.


I'm sure plenty of refinement and elimination will occur over the next few years, but this is what we have now. I'm excited to see what comes of this. As someone who used to live in this area, I really like the 215-15-89 access road. Far too often have I wished I could get to I-215 from that part of North Salt Lake and vice versa.  I also would love to see that Glovers SPUI as it is currently a bit of a pain in the ass to get to south Farmington/north Centerville especially west of the interstate.

Also of note is that all of the Bountiful options that close the southbound 500 West exit would require a reroute of US 89.

Plutonic Panda:
Wait, there wouldn’t be any access to the express lanes at all except from where they begin and end? That doesn’t sound right.

The right thing to do would be to add a new GP lane and a tolled lane so it would be 5 GP lanes and 2 toll lanes each way. That with auxiliary lane improvements would future proof this corridor for decades to come. With passenger rail and local road upgrades you wouldn’t need to touch this road for at least 50 years if they did that.

Bruce:
The Salt Lake Tribune has a new article with the updated cost estimate: $3.7 billion. Seems really steep and the EIS open house website seems to be super dismissive of any transit improvements on the corridor, so what gives?

The Ghostbuster:
If there needs to be transit improvements to the corridor, I would suggest adding one or more bus rapid transit lines. Two locations that might work would be along the Interstate 15 express lanes, or along the US 89 corridor. I would oppose adding more light rail lines due to expense, its slow speeds, and its inflexible routes that are almost impossible to reroute once the rails and wires are installed.

US 89:
That number is the "high-level cost estimate". Inflation is a killer. Plus any sort of large public works project in the US costs inordinately more than it should thanks to endless red tape. They're probably budgeting for inevitable lawsuits that Salt Lake City leaders seem to be egging on west-siders to bring, despite the fact that there are zero residential relocations planned in SLC.

The expansion would be nice, but a lot of the proposed improvements beyond the extra lane would be amazing. There is a notable lack of connectivity between many of the freeways and arterials in northern Salt Lake City and southern Davis County and this project includes several elements that would do wonders for that.

As far as transit...south Davis County is a very decentralized metropolitan region - far more so than Salt Lake. It's best thought of as one spread out suburban 100k population city. There is very little in the way of high density anything other than a few larger strip mall areas (Station Park in Farmington, the complex with Target/Kohl's/Home Depot in Centerville, and the complex with Costco and whatever Shopko and Barnes&Noble became are the bigger players). That simply doesn't lend itself to transit. Regular bus services in the area have actually had some cuts recently due to low and decreasing ridership. FrontRunner exists but has stops only at Farmington and Woods Cross, which are not useful for the vast majority of the area's population. That rail line has the disadvantage of being west of I-15 and US 89 - if you live east of those highways, as most of the area's population does, getting across them can be quite inconvenient. There are plans in the works to double track it where that hasn't been done already, but that's not going to get more asses in train seats between Centerville and North Salt Lake. Downtown Salt Lake City simply isn't dense enough for there to be much political will for any sort of commuter transit from downtown Salt Lake up into south Davis, the way you see with something like Atlanta and their MARTA line to North Springs. Light rail and BRT have both been proposed for south Davis multiple times in the past, potentially following the US 89 or Main Street corridors, and have never gotten anywhere.

I grew up in North Salt Lake and Bountiful. I would have loved to be able to take a train or some sort of BRT to Salt Lake, but that simply is not going to happen without a major shift in local politics and demographics in south Davis County, which is not likely to happen anytime soon. North Salt Lake is growing and diversifying but I just can't see a place like Bountiful being on board.

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