Summit County Signs Joint Resolution Against UDOT's Preferred Alternative For 248

Jul 18, 2019

The study area for the S.R. 248 project
Credit Utah Department of Transportation

The Summit County Council on Wednesday approved a resolution that joins with Park City, and says that UDOT’s preferred alternative, of adding lanes to Highway 248, conflicts with the policies, goals and character of the local area.

The County’s vote comes as Park City Council is scheduled Thursday night to consider the same resolution.

The joint resolution comes after about a month of public comment on UDOT’s draft Environmental Assessment, required under NEPA, to look at solutions for the Highway 248 corridor.

Park City officials say they’re asking the state to look at a multi-modal approach—including transit, biking and walking—rather than just a model that would rely on the single-occupancy vehicle.

City Transit Manager Alfred Knotts, presenting the resolution to County Council, noted that the 248-entry corridor into town isn’t consistent in the number of lanes it has.

“It’s four lanes to the east section, four lanes to the west, and then it does go down to two lanes,” Knotts explained. “So, we do have an honest choke point there that does need to be resolved. How we resolve that, how those lanes are managed, that right-of-way is managed, is something that through this resolution, we want to facilitate additional discussions with UDOT.”

According to the city staff’s summary, UDOT’s Build Alternative would include five lanes all the way in, from Highway 40 to the intersection with Highway 224.

It would revamp that intersection so there are dual left-hand turn lanes from 224 onto 248; and dual right-hand lanes to turn from 248, and head north on 224. Similarly, one turn lane would be added at the intersection of 248 and Bonanza drive.

Left-hand bays would be added to turn into Richardson Flat Road, Comstock Road and Wyatt Earp Way. Bicycle lanes would be added from 40 to the 224 intersection.

Knotts, in his remarks, noted that the joint resolution reflects a 2006 letter of intent the city and county entered about the Entry Corridors and strategies they would pursue.

“Focusing on public transportation, focusing on technology, signal coordination, special-event traffic coordination, traffic information systems.” Knotts said.

Knotts said they are not taking an adversarial position toward UDOT. He said the highway is, after all, a state facility.

“So when the state does look at something, they do look at the broader use of the corridor, who does use the corridor every day, while they still take and consider the local context,” Knotts continued. “So that’s why the resolution was drafted in such a manner, that we don’t want to sour that partnership, and/or paint our partner State in any bad light, that they have been very, very cooperative, and they’ve been very open to discussions.”

Assistant Park City Manager Matt Dias echoed that same idea.

“They’ve been a wonderful partner,” Dias explained. “Like anyone, they’ve put a lot of time, a lot of labor, a lot of logistical and expert analysis into this. They too want something that has local context, that is sensitive to who Park City is, our historic values and character. So they’re looking for a better outcome as well.”

We asked him, though, if the resolution would mean that the state has to start all over again.

“What you’ll probably see is a project that has better context, that’s probably a little bit more episodic that has phases, as opposed to just doing everything at once and widening the corridor,” Dias said. “So, you’re going to see the other values that we support, beyond the single-occupancy vehicle or even higher, such as transit, such as biking, such as walking. You’re going to see those values elevated in the new design.”

The resolution is on City Council’s formal agenda, starting at 6:00 pm at the Marsac Building.