Orange cones are coming down along the Utah Valley Express construction route. Beginning Monday, the center pick-up and drop-off stations will all be functioning through Orem and Provo.
The opening of the stations is a major milestone for the two-year construction project that has made major physical changes to the University Parkway in Provo and Orem and University Avenue in Provo.
The UVX route, which takes the place of the old 830 route, had a soft opening on Aug. 15 when the buses started running but were picking up riders at regular bus stops on the side of the road.
Thanks to a special government grant, anyone can ride the UVX route for free for the next three years. Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University students, faculty, staff and family members will be able to ride free for a decade.
The rapid transit route provides buses every 6-7 minutes during peak times between the Orem intermodal hub, University Place, BYU, Provo and the Provo intermodal hub.
The project has more landscaping and a few small construction items left to be completed according to Andy Neff, project spokesman. However, the completion is coming several months earlier than projected.
According to Carl Arky, Utah Transit Authority spokesman, UTA volunteers will be stationed throughout the UVX system Monday morning to answer rider questions and concerns.
“UTA is asking drivers to be aware of the changes and not drive in the dedicated bus lanes,” Arky said in a press release. “In shared lane areas, drivers will need to yield to buses. Drivers and pedestrians will need to be aware UVX has unique signaling which allows the buses to travel through intersections when other traffic is stopped.”
UTA is also cautioning riders to be cautious when crossing streets and to cross only at designated crossings in order to reach the new stations located in the center of major thoroughfares.
“Pedestrians should be mindful jaywalking is illegal not to mention dangerous,” Arky said in the press release.
Arky added, also starting Monday, southbound UVX buses will run the entire route to East Bay. Customers riding northbound from East Bay will still require a transfer to continue north; however, the transfer location will now be at the southwest corner of the bus island at Provo Central.
Riders should note the UVX schedule, as well as many other bus and rail schedules, will change on Sunday, or Monday for routes that don’t operate on Sunday.