Orem City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday asking that the Utah Department of Transportation take back ownership of a portion of 1600 North between State Street and 1200 West.
The council are united in supporting and encouraging UDOT to acquire, develop and operate that portion of the road according to the resolution.
Sam Kelly, city engineer, said that portion of the road used to be owned by UDOT prior to I-15 coming through Orem in the 1950s. The city is not able to identify when it came into ownership of that portion of 1600 North.
Continued growth and 1600 North being widened on either end of that portion of road has made a need for all of it to be widened.
The project, including acquiring right-of-ways, is about $30 million.
“It probably would have been widened sooner,” Kelly said. “But (UDOT) put in the Pleasant Grove interchange.”
Kelly said the Pleasant Grove interchange may have postponed the need for widening for a while, but traffic continues to back up on that portion of the road that offers only one lane in each direction.
That portion of 1600 North has more than 28,000 annual average daily trips on it. It is over capacity and is failing daily, according to the resolution.
The resolution states, “The city of Orem and Utah County have implemented every transportation tax available to keep up with the transportation demands necessitated by the successful growth that Orem and Utah enjoy.”
The resolution continues, “The city of Orem and Utah County are considered the current and future epicenter of growth for Utah by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah and as such need additional assistance to expand and maintain their regional transportation system and arterial of statewide importance.”
“I feel UDOT recognizes the need.” Kelly said. “It connects one state facility to another.”
Jamie Davidson, city manager, said the city has been aware of this need for a while and the homeowners affected by the widening and exchange have been contacted over the past two years.
“It should be under state supervision and maintenance,” Davidson said.
Kelly said UDOT’s goal is to build grid networking and connectivity. Widening the road would help with that project and alleviate the crowding.
The council must pass the resolution so it signals the Legislature they are serious about the intention and are willing to turn the road back to UDOT.
Kelly said the city and UDOT have a good working relationship and UDOT understands the need for the acquisition.