Saratoga Springs residents and those who drive on Pony Express Parkway may soon notice construction taking place as the city and county prepares for an expansion project of the widely used road.

The project was approved by the Mountainland MPO Regional Planning Committee and is expected to cost $3.8 million, according to an interlocal agreement between Utah County and Saratoga Springs. The Utah County Commission has not yet signed off on this agreement, which needs to happen for the project to take place.

The Pony Express Parkway Extension will widen the road, which runs through Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, and expand it from Redwood Road to Old Saratoga Road.

Funding for the project will come from the Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and county transportation sales tax funds, according to the agreement. Saratoga Springs will be responsible for covering 6.7% of the costs, which equals $254,600.

The expansion project was presented before the Utah County Commission during a work session on Wednesday. Utah County Department of Public Works Director Richard Nielson told the commission that Saratoga Springs would be responsible for fronting the project costs and would be reimbursed by MAG in 2021.

“Saratoga Springs is wanting to start on the work,” Nielson said. “They just want to make sure they have the agreement in place (with Utah County) so they do get reimbursed when the time comes and the funding is available.”

According to the interlocal agreement, “MAG will not reimburse expenses on (the expansion project) unless funding is made available by UDOT and Utah County.” This could require the project “to be placed on hold” by the county or that Saratoga Springs “advance their own funds” toward the project with reimbursement to be made “upon receipt of available funding from UDOT and/or Utah County.”

Commissioner Bill Lee questioned whether Saratoga Springs would be okay with “footing the bill” for the project with no guarantee of reimbursement.

“Are they comfortable with signing an interlocal agreement that says they’re going to spend money but they may not get fully reimbursed?” Lee said.

Reimbursement for the project, according to the agreement, is capped at $3.6 million. Any costs exceeding this amount must be paid for by Saratoga Springs.

The interlocal agreement was signed by Saratoga Springs Mayor Jim Miller on Dec. 17. The commission did not sign the agreement since decisions are not made during work sessions. The commission will make a decision on the agreement in its next public meeting on Jan. 15.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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