S.R. 248 Expansion Would Cost $60 Million: Public Input Open Until July 11
After more than two years, the $1.6 million Utah Department of Transportation State Route 248 environmental study is finished. Now the public has 30 days to give input on the findings which include a preferred alternative to make the corridor a four-lane road from Richardson Flat to Park Avenue. The cost of the project is estimated at $60 million.
The Draft Environmental Assessment took 28 months to complete and is 1400 pages in length. The study was requested by Park City officials to address current and future traffic congestion on the 248 corridor. A 12-page Executive Summary is included in the report. The public has 30 days to weigh in on the study.
Park City’s Interim Transit Director, Alfred Knotts says the community should look at the study, at least at the executive summary which is found at the beginning of the 1400-page draft. He realizes the entire document won’t be read by most people. But he encourages every citizen to look at chapters two and three. Chapter 2 covers the alternatives they considered including a no-build option. Chapter 3, he says, offers details of the impacts of each alternative and covers things like recreation, visual impacts, environmental effects, farmland, wetlands, cultural impacts and biking and pedestrian use.
He says the decision to expand and redesign SR 248 will ultimately be made by UDOT. The Park City Council will provide substantial input.
“You know, I do get questions constantly, even in my previous position, like when do we get to vote on this. Well it’s not a referendum. And I know that’s a tough pill for people to swallow, it’s not a vote. And if that was the case, you could only imagine that nothing would happen in this country. I mean you wouldn’t have the interstate system if you had to vote. You wouldn’t have airports; you wouldn’t have schools in certain areas.”
Knotts says there are regulatory things that he wants both the citizens and the council to understand about approving a project of this size and scope. He’ll present the staff report to City Council during Thursday’s meeting.
“We do not have the funding right now to construct everything. Again, it’s technically, again, illegal to fund a project for construction if you haven’t gone through the environmental process because then it looks to the public like it’s a done deal. Even if this does get approved this fall, (it’s kind of the schedule) because it’s going to take a long time to incorporate the comments, the project still needs to be fully designed, the right-of-way needs to be acquired and you have to have the construction dollars.”
Knotts believes if approved, the highest priority would be to fix the choke point on 248 where it goes from four lanes down to two.
“Because there are four lanes on the west end and there are four lanes on the east end and there are only two lanes through the narrows, is to have that consistent cross section, is to fix the area essentially between Richardson Flat and Bonanza. The other section of the project, that could be 10 to 15 years out.”
This isn’t the first time the City has analyzed the SR 248 corridor. In 2009, city officials and UDOT chose to leave it alone and not pursue expansion of the road.
“At that time, it probably would have been a good idea to keep the project, at least somewhat going. The lead time on these projects is a minimum of about five to seven years. So, unless you start at that time, and that’s why we have to make sure if we do proceed with anything, we do a solution that’s going to fix the problem for the long term, cause we can’t do kind of a band-aid on it and come back to the state and say, hey we want to do this now. Cause they’ll say, get back in line.”
Another alternative, Knotts says is for Park City to take over jurisdiction of the SR 248-entry corridor section of the road.
“The state is happy to give up a highway or facility. They are more than happy to. Again, 248 and 224 are two of those facilities that are a dead-end road to the state. But they do make it into one of the negotiation parts of the process is, that when you do relinquish it, you make what’s called a jurisdictional transfer is that the local entity makes sure it is in a good state of repair.”
The draft assessment is open for public comment until July 11. A formal public hearing is scheduled for June 26th at Treasure Mountain Junior High School from 4 – 6PM and the Park City Council will get a presentation from the Transit Department on June 20th in their regularly scheduled meeting.
To view the full Draft Environmental Asssesssment including the Executive Summary:
Comments can be made at: