By JENNIFER BURKE
After twenty-five years, and $150,000, residents of Pleasant Grove may be one step closer to gaining quicker access to I-15.
The city of Pleasant Grove is proposing construction of an I-15 interchange approximately two miles north of Lindon, and two miles south of American Fork.
“The interchange would allow residents to get in and out of Pleasant Grove more effectively,” said Richard Paulson, Administrative Services director for Pleasant Grove.
The current roads used by most motorists in the area aren’t equipped to handle the demands placed on them on a daily basis, Paulson said.
“Both State Street and Geneva road are continually very busy and won’t allow for growth,” Paulson said.
Residents are counting down the days until they no longer have to use the backroads to and from work.
“I can’t wait for the day that I can zip right on to the freeway rather than have to sit on State Street at a snail’s pace,” said Jeffrey Ward, Pleasant Grove resident.
In 1995, Mountainland Association of Government conducted a traffic study in which they ranked Pleasant Grove as a high priority in getting an interchange.
“There is a growing need in that area for an interchange. There is new housing and business construction all the time. It’s a long way in-between exits, and congestion is becoming a great concern,” said Kathy McMullen, director of regional planning at Mountainland Association of Government.
After determining that Pleasant Grove would benefit from an interchange, the city hired a civil engineering firm to help in the next step of the proposal process.
Horrocks Engineers were hired for the $150,000 to conduct an environmental study. The study was to identify wetlands, and show how property would be affected by building an interchange.
“We wanted to find out whether such a road would cause any problems,” Paulson said.
There were no major issues or problems found, Paulson said.
“There were a few minor problems in regards to wetland issues, but we have already proposed to fix those areas,” Paulson said.
However, the possible new freeway is not without its problems.
“The interchange does have the potential for three to four homes to be impacted by it,” said Lee Cabell, engineer for Horrocks Engineers.
Cabell also said nothing is final concerning construction or approval on the I-15 interchange until the EPA reviews the environmental document.
The Pleasant Grove City Council, however, has approved a proposal to fund a contractor to start designing plans. Councilmembers made the approval on Tuesday.
“The next step is to turn what was a concept into a plan with the only catch being the funding,” Paulson said. “We need to figure out how we will be able to pay for the interchange, at an estimated cost of $23 million.”
If all steps are approved, construction on the I-15 interchange could begin as early as the year 2000, Paulson said.