Wasatch County leaders strategize bypass, regional transportation goals
Local government leaders say they want to explore new ideas for how to improve Wasatch County’s transportation infrastructure.
Transportation, including the Heber bypass, was front-of-mind at an interlocal meeting of Wasatch County governments Jan. 10.
Bob Allen, the senior transportation planner of the Mountainland Association of Governments, presented ideas to leaders from Wasatch County, Heber City and Midway.
MAG is a state organization that carries out planning projects in Summit, Utah and Wasatch counties.
Allen suggested the county may want to consider investing in a comprehensive visioning plan to strategize future transportation infrastructure as Wasatch County grows. It would be similar to the OurSummit visioning process used by Summit County leaders.
“We want to develop goals for transportation within the county and within the Wasatch Back to help guide us,” Allen said. “That comprehensive thing would mostly be, in my mind, a way to identify, ‘These are the things that are really important to Wasatch County.’”
Transportation planning will include updating the master trails plan and making transit more robust across the Heber Valley.
The bypass road is the main long-term infrastructure project in the county. Plans for the bypass, intended to pull highway traffic away from downtown Heber’s Main Street, have been in the works for years. UDOT is expected to name a “preferred alternative” from five possible routes in February or March.
Heber City councilmember Scott Phillips told the group he understands the bypass is controversial, but local government leaders need to get on the same page to work with UDOT.
“There’s ways for us to plan as entities, to say, ‘Thank you for your recommendation. Here’s some things we’d like to improve upon to make it more palatable to everybody involved,’” he said. “It’s not an easy decision.”
Wasatch County Council chair Spencer Park said the group should go back to their local council meetings and discuss goals for the bypass, then reconvene as an interlocal group.
“We’ll get that going as soon as we can,” he said. “I think we can have it on our agenda and select our members in the next couple weeks.”
The county council will appoint two representatives to the interlocal planning committee at its meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17.
Leaders say they’re also interested in pursuing an overall transportation visioning process if they can secure some funding to hire a consultant. They’ll discuss the idea further and decide whether to move forward with it at a regional planning meeting Feb. 5.