Provo construction ending soon; I-15 commute times continue to grow

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Ari Davis
Construction has had Provo stopping and going over the past few months. While construction in Provo is expected to end soon, the construction on I-15 will last at least until next year (Photo: Ari Davis)

Many Utah residents would agree that there are four seasons in Utah: winter, winter, winter and road construction.

Construction seems inevitable for most Utah residents, but this year has been heavier than than the norm. Although Provo recently completed two construction projects near campus, one on Canyon Road and one on 700 North, the project at the point of the mountain is still in full swing.

Construction between Lehi and Draper is expanding the super highway to six lanes and is expected to be completed in September 2016.  This project, according to the Utah Department of Transportation’s public information officer John Gleason, has been in the pipeline for “the last few years.”

Gleason said the stretch of freeway was laid in the 1960s and has been in need of repair for a few years.

Kyla Beckstrand, 22, a senior from Alpine, Utah majoring in ancient Near Eastern studies, had to drive through the construction every day last summer to work in Sandy. “(Traffic) was awful,” she said. “I probably added about 20 extra minutes commuting.”

Two years may seem like a long time, but Gleason said projects like this one will massively increase Utah’s economy. “Nobody likes to sit in traffic, myself included,” he said, laughing. “But that is one of the short-term problems that happens with projects like this.”

HIs point was supported by an article in The New Yorker titled “How Utah Became the Next Silicon Valley,” which listed transportation as one of the causes for growth in business, as exemplified by the Adobe Headquarters off I-15 and UT State Route 92.

“You build a good transportation system and you will attract businesses and people.” Gleason said. The project was 50 percent completed as of July 31, and as long as no problems occur I-15 will be fully opened again next year, this time with an economy-boosting upgrade.

 

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