Heber City and the Utah Department of Transportation continue work on the Main Street and By-Pass studies. A public input session was held last week with another one planned for the Fall. December is the deadline to complete the studies. Then it goes on to the 2019 State Legislature where Heber officials hope to get approval for next steps. Carolyn Murray has the details.
Heber Mayor Kelleen Potter says Heber City and Wasatch County have worked for about 10 years acquiring the land to build the by-pass around Heber’s Main Street.
“The idea is to get this study from UDOT to establish this preferred corridor, so we can ask for funding from the legislature. Then ultimately, we want to dedicate that road as US 40 and have Heber City and take Main Street as a local road so we would have the control to make it economically a more viable place and a more walkable Main Street.”
The proposed route would run west of Heber City through sensitive lands which will require an environmental study. She says the data shows that in 20 years the traffic will cause debilitating back-ups if a bypass is not constructed.
“We will have to have an environmental study to see if it is even doable. There are definitely people speaking out saying we don’t want it going behind our neighborhood. There really is no other alternative anyone has come up with at this point. The traffic studies they have shown at this point is that by 2040 without any kind of an alternate route, we have likely a miles worth of traffic piling up trying to come into our Main Street in Heber City.”
Potter says they hope to include bike lanes and trails along the bypass, but they haven’t finalized the design or even how many lanes will be built. There is an urgency on the part of the County and the City to adopt the route because of development pressures.
“It’s not requiring condemnation. It’s only open fields and some of it would be dedicated as part of development on the Heber City side. Other parts have already been purchased with some corridor preservation funds the County has established through vehicle registrations. The first section is pretty doable. The southern part is a little bit trickier because that route was not preserved and so some developments are coming in even right now that are going to make it harder.”
Potter says they had a great turn out at the public input meeting last week. They received a lot of feedback and they’ll hold another meeting in the Fall.
“There are some people who are concerned that a by-pass might hurt businesses on Main Street and there are people who are concerned who it actually impacts within certain distance of their property. There are still a lot of concerns about traffic. People are speeding…actually it’s bumper to bumper…so we get comments on both sides of that. You know an issue that Main Street Heber is just not a vibrant downtown and a lot of the businesses are concerned about parking.”
Potter says they still need to acquire property on the North and Central side of the proposed by-pass but the south end connection is not yet defined.
“That whole thing will have to be connected from Wal-Mart down to 40 and UDOT’s come up with a new scenario that hasn’t been on the table recently, at least, that would make it a little shorter and more direct but that would impact more property.”
The studies will be complete in December and the public will have another chance to weigh in on both the Main Street and the by-pass projects in October.