New plans call for changes to University Parkway



    The Department of Transportation has plans for a new $10 million University Parkway interchange.

    The new interchange will increase the capacity of the parkway across the interstate down to Geneva road.

    Dan Knowlden, project design engineer for Utah Department of Transportation’s region three, said the north and southbound ramps have exceeded the number of vehicles that they were initially designed for.

    Age and size are also factors in the decision to redo the existing structure.

    “The interchange needs to be larger so that it can enable a smoother flow for an increased number of cars,” Knowlden said.

    The interchange was built in the early ’60s and has been showing signs of wear-and-tear, Knowlden said. Most structures like the University Parkway are designed to last for 50 years.

    Although the interchange could last another 20 years, engineers are concerned with the amount of congestion that occurs on the ramps.

    Traffic backs up all the way to Orem because the interchange lanes are too narrow, Knowlden said.

    An eight-lane structure over Interstate 15 and shorter ramps will enable traffic to get off the structure and get through the lights without stopping, he said.

    “The ramps will be closer to the signals with what we call a compressed diamond interchange. This improved signalization will make it easier for traffic to flow smoothly,” Knowlden said.

    All of the ramps will have at least two lanes for traffic, Knowlden said.

    Alan Mecham, region three director, said the new project will ultimately do two things: reduce the delay time on signals and decrease traffic congestion.

    Because the northbound on-ramp will be increased to two lanes, traffic will no longer have to endure long delays that back up traffic, Mecham said.

    The southbound off-ramp, which is the off-ramp to BYU, will be widened to accept three lanes of left-turning vehicles. The widened lanes will increase access to popular events like BYU football games.

    Mecham said the project will be available for bid by October 1998. Construction will begin mid-1999 and should be completed in 1 1/2 years.

    “In any case, it will be in place for the 2002 Olympics,” Mecham said.

    Mecham said his biggest concern will be traffic control during construction.

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