WASHINGTON CITY – A potential highway interchange between Exits 10 and 13 on Interstate 15 that would be built in the middle of downtown Washington City was one of six possible options engineers shared with city officials and the public Tuesday as a part of a preview for the project’s open house later this month.
Lee Cabell, of Horrocks Engineers, shared basic details of six alternative proposals connected to the Utah Department of Transportation’s MP 11 Interchange environmental study during a council work meeting Tuesday evening ahead of the Aug. 28 open house.
“The reason why we’re doing this traffic study is to address some of the traffic issues and congestion we’re seeing around the Exit 10 interchange area (and) the Green Springs-Telegraph intersection,” Cabell said.
The study began a year ago with an open house held in September. The results of the public input given in the September meeting, additional comments submitted online and continuing discussion with a community coordination committee have helped play a role in the proposals being considered by traffic engineers.
As the study is ongoing and more public input will follow in the wake of the Aug. 28 open house, Cabell said each of options presented Tuesday night are subject to change and even dismissal as the study progresses.
“Tonight is a draft” of the study details, he said.
The concept of an interchange in downtown Washington City does not sit well with some residents and City Council members, however, as they feel it will destroy the character of the area and also be a public safety risk.
Despite the protests over a downtown interchange – which is one of a handful of options presented Tuesday – most residents and city officials have agreed that a solution to the increasing congestion at the Green Springs/Exit 10 interchange needs to be found.
Before going into a brief rundown of the proposed traffic alternatives, Cabell said work would also need to be done on the Green Springs Drive and Telegraph Street intersection and surrounding area. These changes are common to each of the study alternatives and are estimated to solve a majority of the traffic issues in that area.
Proposed changes to the area include:
- Creating a dedicated right turn lane/lanes on the southbound Green Springs Drive interchange off-ramp on to Buena Vista Boulevard.
- Widening the Green Springs-Telegraph Street intersection.
- Widening Telegraph Street to seven lanes.
- Widening Green Springs-3050 East to seven lanes.
- Widening and improving the Telegraph Street-Walmart intersection.
- Installing raised medians along Telegraph Street and Green Springs Drive.
Cabell said the remaining issues at Exit 10 could potentially be handled by one of the options presented Tuesday.
Proposed alternatives (see image below)
One of the alternatives involves thru-turns at the Green Springs Drive-Telegraph Street intersection that would eliminate left turns on Red Cliffs Drive, 3050 East and Telegraph Street. Gaining access to those streets require a left turn done though a U-turn configuration.
The next alternative proposes creating one-way frontage roads on either side of I-15 between Exits 10 and 13. While this option would not require a new interchange, several properties along the paths of these roads would be impacted, Cabell said.
Another non-interchange alternative would have a bridge cross over Green Springs Drive that would allow traffic from Red Cliffs Parkway to travel through to Telegraph Street and vice versa. Turns through the intersection would be handled beneath the bridge in a manner similar to the Bluff Street-Snow Canyon Parkway intersection in St. George, Cabell said.
Widening northbound Green Springs Drive to four lanes is also proposed.
The last two options shared at the council meeting were ones for which Washington City residents have not shown much love, as they place an interchange at either Main Street or 300 East, both of which are in the middle of the residential downtown heart of the city.
The Main Street option shows Main Street being realigned to the northwest in order to better connect with the intersection of Buena Vista and Brio Parkway on the north side of I-15. Part of the reason why the current alignment of Main Street would not work is due to a power substation located by the road.
The other interchange proposal is at 300 East. This would entail a reconfiguration of I-15 and realignment of Buena Vista Boulevard to accommodate the new interchange, as well as the widening of 300 East down to Telegraph Street.
Residents have raised objections over the 300 East location related to speeding traffic coming off the highway while also passing Washington Elementary, creating a possible safety risk for children there.
Each of the proposals is going to have a level of impact on the surrounding properties, Cabell said, with some being more impactful than others, though he did not go into detail at the council meeting.
“Details on impacts will be at the open house,” he said. “For each of these alternatives you’ll be able to see exactly which properties will be impacted and how much, where they’re at, what it looks like and study maps in detail and get your questions answered in detail.”
While one alternative may look better than another, Cabell said no “silver bullet concept” has been found to completely fix all of the issues surrounding Exit 10. He added that whatever proposal is chosen in the end, be it one shown at the open house or a new one produced afterward, not everyone will be happy with the results.
“As you can see from all these alternatives, someone’s going to get their feelings hurt,” he said.
The next open house on the I-15 MP 11 Interchange study will be Aug. 28 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Washington County Community Center, 350 E. Community Center Drive in Washington City.
Individuals who are unable to attend the open house will still be able to review the alternatives online and submit their comments at mp11.org.
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