By KIMBERLY NIELSEN
A big question on the minds of Olympic organizers is whether the East/West line of Salt Lake’s light rails system, Trax, will be ready by 2002.
“By the time we get approval from the federal government and receive the full funding grant, there won’t be time for construction,” said Kent Jorgenson, Community Relations Specialist at the Utah Transit Authority.
Jorgenson said the $105 million line is supposed to run from 400 South and Main Street, turn on 500 South and go up adjacent to the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“We have three leading construction companies bidding for the contract,” Jorgenson said.’
Among the leading contenders for the job is a local company based out of Orem, Geneva Rock.
“We definitely feel that the rail can be completed before the Olympics,” said Kay Christofferson, Vice-President of Construction at Geneva Rock. “Even if we get started in May on the line, our proposal is to have the rail completed by November 2001.”
Christofferson said that Geneva Rock, which is a member of the Salt Lake Road Constructors, also helped build two phases of the North/South line.
Since the North/South line’s opening in December, Traxs has been very successful.
Todd Leonard, a resident of South Jordan, is one of the many people who ride the Trax. As a chef in downtown Salt Lake, Leonard takes the 40 minute commute from 10000 South to the City Center destination.
“It’s quick and it allows you to do other things while commuting,” Leonard said.
As a rising mode of transportation, Trax will gain business especially when the Olympics come to town.
“I think that the Trax will be useful for the Olympics in the fact that it will allow people to get to popular locations easily and adequately,” Leonard said.
Even if the East/West line isn’t completed by the Olympics, Jorgenson said that there are several options UTA can turn to. This includes a partial build of the Trax to aid in transporting people around during the Olympics.
UTA will notify the construction companies about the job around Feb. 11.