The Utah Department of Transportation held an open house Thursday night seeking public feedback on a possible Interstate 15 interchange to be built in the Springville/Spanish Fork area.
At 5 p.m., right when the open house started, it was already packed with residents wanting to learn more about the proposed interchange. Geoff Dupaix, senior communications manager for Region Three, said Thursday night’s session was part of what UDOT describes as “scoping,” the first phase of public outreach before any moves are made on things like a full environmental assessment, although Dupaix said they have determined what kind of environmental document would need to be produced.
Residents who were unable to attend the meeting can still submit comments during this first round until Nov. 30 by contacting the project team at (801) 704-0899.
Dupaix said the interchange would be the first step in a long-term plan of transportation development in the area.
“There’s been several studies done in this area ... everybody recognizes that there’s issues on 400 South (in Springville),” Dupaix said. “This meeting here tonight is about ... coming out to the public, making sure that we understand all the issues and seeing if the public has any recommendations on potential solutions for those issues.”
Marlene Boyer Reed has lived in Springville for 55 years, by her estimation. She said she lives in the same house she grew up in and she’s seen Springville grow from a town where she knew everyone, to a city where thousands of cars pass by her home every day. She’s highly in favor of the proposed interchange.
“Do it tomorrow,” Boyer Reed said. “We’re growing so fast.”
The goals of the proposed interchange presented at the open house include reducing congestion, improving mobility and access to I-15, enhancing safety, and improving operations. The schedule on display at the open house projected another public hearing and comment period will take place in July of next year, and the environmental assessment will be finalized in August 2020.
“With the amount of traffic that we’re seeing and project traffic that we’re seeing between 400 South and US-6, it looks like there’s going to be a need for some additional connectivity to and from I-15,” Dupaix said.
There are also discussions of extending the FrontRunner lines down to Springville, which could potentially be part of the long-term transportation development plan Dupaix referenced.
“There’s a lot of movement, so it’s an ideal time to take a look at other solutions in addition to everything else that’s happening, to help people get to where they want to go in a safe and efficient way,” he added.
The proposed budget for the project is currently $7 million, which Dupaix said would cover the environmental study and the acquisition of the property on which the interchange would be built. Once those two things are completed, the project will seek more information and more funding based on that information.
“We have not settled in on any kind of solution at this point,” said Darren Bunker, UDOT Region Three project manager. UDOT is just looking to gather information, for all comments, he added.
It will be a long process, but Boyer Reed at least can’t wait for things to move along.
“We’ve been waiting for this exit forever.”
Look for information, updates and leave a comment by visiting the project website: http://www.udot.utah.gov/i15springvillespanishfork.