Kearns Tunnel Open For Business But PCHS Principal Worries About Student Drivers

Jan 22, 2020

Credit Park City Municipal Corporation

The tunnel under Kearns Boulevard is finished. It’s just in time for the start of Sundance. During this time period, school buses are rerouted to the back of the school campus, on Lucky John Drive. But about 300 kids are driving in and out of the high school lot every weekday and the principal is a little concerned.

Park City High School Principal Roger Arbabi is in a wait and see mode to determine if the new tunnel makes it safer for his students who are driving to school.

“You know Carolyn, I’m really worried from my perspective, when it's during lunch, or after school, the cross traffic never stops because there's  no stop light and so a that's going to be a problem for my kiddos getting in and out of school. I'm really worried about that, actually."

Arbabi recognizes the improvement in pedestrian safety for those crossing Kearns Boulevard, but he is worried about the buses moving in and out of the parking lot in a timely way. 

 “You know, the buses, I really don't have an idea of what we're going to do with the buses because the school’s letting out with, you know, with 300 kids driving and then we've got out of that parking lot are buses are going to be getting out at that time…it's going to be… and when the cross traffic doesn't stop, that's going to be a problem. So, we're just going to observe and see what we can do.”

Park City Transportation Manager Alfred Knotts says the tunnel is ready after completing the final safety and code inspections this week.

“We did the inspections with our building inspector and the chief building official Dave Thacker and our city engineer to review some of the code issues that we needed to get addressed such as the lighting the handrailing just some last minute punch list items and they have authorized the opening of the tunnel in the beacon should be removed today and immobilized from the 248 corridor."

He says regular drivers who use the corridor tend to accommodate the buses moving in and out of the school lots. Knotts believes the changes are a fair tradeoff because it will improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety long term.

“Yeah, we’ve committed to the school district not to necessarily have an officer there but to monitor and evaluate throughout the school year and then sit back down with him come this spring and summer to look if there's any other accommodations that would need to be made.

The tunnel is four months behind schedule, and he doesn’t know the final price yet. They’re looking at liquidated damages that may be applied to the contractor. They had multiple unexpected issues with buried utility lines and soils, along with contractor difficulties.

Just like to thank the community for their patience as we struggled with a lot of utility conflicts and delays from the contractor. So, once this is open the safety and the access to the corridor will be vastly improved. So, we hope the community recognizes that. And again, thanks for their patience."

AM Park city High School bus drop off will be in the front of the high school and PM bus loading will be in the back during Sundance.

A link to the school district web site and newsroom can be found on KPCW.org. It has details about school bus route changes and the bell schedule changes during Sundance.