County Official Details UDOT's Proposals to Fix Kimball Junction's Traffic Problem
The Kimball Junction traffic survey is open for community input until February 12. Summit County and UDOT partnered to come up with four options for consideration. The plans are not final, and the designs presented in the survey could blend together to make traffic improvements in the area.
There have been about 150 respondents to the Kimball Junction Traffic survey so far. The most popular is Alternative 3. Summit County Transit Planning Director Caroline Rodriguez said a large group of technical staff participated in brainstorming the four alternatives.
The second option of expanding a road into the High Ute Open Space is not considered acceptable by the County Council and community. After the survey closes, they'll go to the UDOT team with feedback.
“We have a whole host of people participating in this,” Rodriguez said. “I think our advisory committee, which is made up of technical staff from various agencies, has over 35 people. We will go back to UDOT and our project team, and we will be giving them council feedback. And luckily council's feedback is pretty much a mirror of what we saw through our survey results. And that type of feedback actually scored very high in our weighting process for the screening. So, we will screen out those alternatives that are not acceptable and will move forward with a really micro-level modeling and data analysis alternative. The alternatives that are acceptable to the community and council."
Alternative 3 incorporates options that have been explored in the past. KPCW's Leslie Thatcher, in an extended interview, asks about what it would look like.
"Is this alternative 3, is this the idea that has been bantered about for years? I mean that we would basically have new flyovers to get to and from Interstate 80 without having to go through kind of the commercial area?"
"A little bit. It's a play on that. They're not flyovers from the Interstate. It's that 224 is depressed going through Ute and Olympic so that if f through traffic doesn't need to hit in any traffic lights. Local traffic hits that East-West movement at street level."
Rodriguez said there would be an increase in traffic volume regardless of a Kimball Junction redesign. Alternative three would alleviate backups by filtering local commerce off the through traffic on 224.
"About 50% of the traffic in the Kimball Junction area is not through traffic, it's trying to get to the businesses and opportunities on both sides of the neighborhood,” she said. “So, what the alternative does is it pulls off some of that car traffic and transit traffic and makes it easier for them to get to both sides of 224, so it's not a pinch point right at those two signalized intersections."
Rodriguez said alternative 4 presents short-term solutions for the traffic problems in Kimball Junction but would not replace the plans for a more expansive project later-on.
"Not instead of a bigger fix, but as we work our way up to maybe a bigger solution such as alternative 3,” she said. “So that includes some things like adding triple northbound left-turn lanes in some cases or a pedestrian tunnel under 224 at Ute or widening the northbound Lane on 224 between Olympic and Ute. And it's those types of things that, yes, could be implemented fairly quickly. And in the entire scheme of things, they're less expensive than other solutions maybe would be."
Once the process moves out of the phase 2 stage to an environmental assessment, potential project costs will be more defined.