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Bus Lane or Gondola? UDOT Seeks Public Input on Little Cottonwood Canyon Traffic Mitigation

Terry Ott/Creative Commons

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) announced Friday it’s seeking public comment on two preferred alternatives to improve transportation up Little Cottonwood Canyon on the Wasatch Front: enhanced bus service on a dedicated shoulder lane or a gondola connection.


A press statement from UDOT said a public comment period is open through August 9 on the two options, which were developed as part of the Little Cottonwood Canyon Draft Environmental Impact Statement.


It said that a shoulder lane on State Route 210 would be used during peak times, allowing buses to pass slower-moving traffic in the general-purpose lane. Bus patrons would park at either the gravel pit hub, located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon or at the intersection of 9400 South and Highland Drive in Sandy.


UDOT said that, with a bus departing every five minutes, this alternative offers the fastest travel time and the second-lowest cost. And when not in use, the shoulder lane can be used by cyclists and pedestrians.


The gondola option, meanwhile, would have a base station constructed near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon with 1,500 parking spaces.


A gondola cabin would arrive every two minutes and each car would hold up to 35 people.


The UDOT report said this option would lessen delays on the canyon road due to traffic, snow removal or avalanches. The plan has low impacts to wildlife, climbing areas and the watershed.


The state reported it came up with the two alternatives after studying 124 concepts proposed by stakeholders over the past two years.


Along with the public comment period, UDOT will host an in-person open house and public hearing on July 13 at Butler Middle School in Cottonwood Heights. A virtual public hearing will be held on July 20.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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