FARMINGTON — Davis County commuters beware: The orange barrel brigade will be invading a freeway near you beginning next month.
The Utah Department of Transportation is preparing to launch a major construction project on the I-15 freeway in south Davis County. The $117 million project will include significant roadway improvements from North Salt Lake to Farmington.
Project manager Nathan Peterson said UDOT is working to improve mobility on I-15 and east-west corridors in south Davis County to meet current traffic needs. The improvement project will expand lanes, reduce congestion and reconfigure interchanges to replace aging bridges, he said.
Work is expected to begin in mid-April, with interchange and bridge construction continuing through summer 2015.
The I-15 improvement project will add express lanes in both directions from the north I-215 interchange to U.S. 89 in Farmington, as well as replace aging bridges at 2600 South and 1500 South in Woods Cross, 500 South in Bountiful and 400 North in West Bountiful, Peterson said.
Workers will also reconfigure interchanges at 2600 South in Woods Cross and 500 South in Bountiful to improve east-west mobility and improve active transportation, with better pedestrian facilities at 500 South, 400 North and a new pedestrian bridge at Parrish Lane in Centerville.
“As we make that connection between the Farmington express lane and all the ones down south, we will have the longest continuous express lane in the nation — from south Utah County almost into the Layton area,” Peterson said.
The final phase will eventually extend into Weber County to Ogden, he added, but that project is still in the planning stages.
According to UDOT spokesman Vic Saunders, the nearly 11-mile stretch of freeway in the current phase accommodates about 165,000 vehicles every day. The improvements are meant to address ongoing traffic issues facing drivers in south Davis County, particularly during peak travel times in the morning and evening rush hours, he said.
Peterson said the completed project will feature some innovations in traffic management for freeway interchanges that may be new to some drivers but should be easy to understand.
“The goal is to make these (new innovations) very intuitive so that you don’t have to stop and think about how to navigate them,” he said.
The finished project will also include dedicated sidewalks and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists, Peterson said.
While the improvements will eventually make travel through south Davis County less congested, UDOT is advising drivers to consider using alternate routes during the estimated 15-month construction period. UDOT officials said they would like to see the traffic volume reduced by 20 percent during the construction period.
“If we can achieve that, then we’ll be able to expedite our construction schedule and be able to deliver the project sooner and keep traffic moving,” Peterson said.
Commuters are encouraged to use Legacy Parkway or U.S. 89 if they have to drive or take FrontRunner commuter rail if possible.
Crews will stagger their heavy work periods around the peak traffic times, Peterson said.
“The majority of construction will happen at night during off-peak hours,” he explained.
Crews will use Bluetooth technology to monitor traffic in real time in order to keep congestion to a minimum.
“We’re able to adjust our traffic control to best suit our needs according to the traffic that is out there at the current time,” Peterson said.