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UDOT public comment period ends today with input from hundreds

Heber City Main Street
Ben Lasseter
Heber City Main Street is a focus of UDOT's environmental impact study. Congestion there is a result of traffic from U. S. 40, S. R. 189 and within Heber City converging onto one road.

Over 200 people have weighed in on driving in the Heber Valley during the past month’s public comment period, and last-minute responders can still give input until midnight.

The 30-day public comment period got responses on where to put, and where not to put, a potential bypass road for U.S. Highway 40. They were asked to weigh in on 13 proposals for alleviating traffic on Heber Main Street including a tunnel underneath the city and roundabouts.

“So, we’re hearing a lot of comments about how the east side might be affected, and these are more themes that we’re hearing,” says Geoff DuPais, Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson. “There’s still an acknowledgement that something needs to be done about the congestion that people are experiencing on Main Street. How that’s addressed, it seems to be varying on where residents are living, whether it’s on the west side versus the east side and vice-versa.”

The public comment is part of UDOT’s environmental impact study. The study should take at least another year, and any actual project is still years out.

DuPaix says residents seem interested in building a bypass road. More specifically, residents on the east side support building one west of town, and vice-versa.

In other comments, he says people are especially concerned with preserving the North Fields. The nearly 3,000 acres of fields are north of Heber and west of Highway 40.

The study’s next step is a screening process. DuPaix says UDOT will weigh comments and other research to narrow the 13 ideas down with technical analysis.

“There’s a lot of screening that is left to be done before we can then take a look at the engineering and say, ‘Okay, now let’s take a more refined look at the impacts of those alignments, how they would affect the natural environment and the community impact’ and look at some of those and further refine those down. So, there’s a lot of refining that we’re going to start doing over the next several months.”

The next public comment period will take place in mid to late 2022 when UDOT has a draft environmental impact statement ready.

DuPaix encourages people to follow the UDOT website and sign up for email updates on the project. Visit hebervalleyeis.udot.utah.gov to leave a comment or for information on the study.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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