At more than 1400 pages, the draft of the environmental assessment for State Route 248 is finished. Now, it’s the public’s turn to weigh in.
Improvements to S.R. 248, reaching from S.R. 224 to U.S. 40, have been part of Park City’s long-range transportation plan since 2011. The environmental assessment portion of the project was initiated in 2017. The assessment is necessary because the project requires federal funding through the Utah Department of Transportation, Park City Municipal’s partner on the project.
Park City Interim Transportation Director Alfred Knotts says a lot of ideas have floated around the community to address the traffic on 248—like adding a roundabout—but the purpose of the environmental assessment is to evaluate what options are feasible.
“What this does and what it's intended to do is to really take all of those alternatives, potential alternatives, and see how they actually perform," Knotts said. "How they perform today versus 2040, which is the building horizon that we have to plan for.”
The process has vetted a few alternatives, with different traffic configurations. The primary purpose of the improvements is to alleviate traffic congestion on Kearns Blvd., particularly between Sidewinder Dr. and Richardson Flat Road, where the two travel lanes in each direction bottleneck down to one.
The preliminary design maintains four total lanes and adds a center turn lane as well as enough shoulder space for bike and transit lanes. It also installs turn lanes at intersections. If approved, Knotts estimates the project could be a $60 million investment. It’s also a significant investment in time.
“Just to get to construction, it's a good five to seven to 10 years, even after we’re approved this document," Knotts said. "If it does get approved, based on the public comment, then we're still looking at a lot of years out: subsequent steps with right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, funding. The project is not fully funded because we don't necessarily know what we're building yet, and there's still final design."
The public comment period for the S.R. 248 environmental assessment stretches from now until July 11, with an official public hearing on June 26 at Treasure Mountain Jr. High from 4 to 6 p.m. Knotts says the transportation team will also present the draft to the City Council on June 20.
The environmental assessment isn’t complete until the project team responds to all received comments, after which UDOT will make a final decision about the assessment this fall. The draft of the assessment—and a few different tools to simplify it—can be found at UDOT’s website, where you can also leave comments for the record.