The comment period for the Heber Valley Corridor project closes Wednesday, residents are invited to offer their thoughts to UDOT and local officials about the proposed route.
Listen to the original story at KPCW.org.
The Heber Valley Corridor project sent out a reminder last week ahead of the closure of the extended comment period. The message mentioned some key topics identified in the early parts of the comment period. The number one issue mentioned by the study was the impacts of the route on neighboring homes. Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter says she’s heard the same complaint loud and clear.
“The area right now that I’m seeing is the area on the south end. There’s been a lot of people in the area that are concerned, so we’re kind of collecting all the comments. Then we’re going to start focusing on compiling those and addressing them.”
Another issue identified so far is the potential consequences of realigning U.S. 189, including impacts on the airport and sewer farm. Mayor Potter explains the planning study and comment periods are precursors to the environmental study which will ultimately set the parkway’s route.
“So what we’re trying to do know is say first is it necessary? So they did the numbers to say OK what are the numbers on your Main Street what’s going to happen if we don’t do this? Then, what happens with this route versus that route? So, it’s not set in stone but we’re moving forward to try and get an environmental study and continue to look at the different alternatives and see what would be optimal.”
With the rapid growth and pressing need of an alternate travel corridor Heber City and Wasatch County have been acquiring land along the route to try and accelerate the creation of the parkway.
“For many years we’ve been getting a $10 corridor preservation fund when people do their vehicle registration. So, some of the land has already been purchased. Some of it is anticipated to be donated when certain areas are developed. There’s an area right now that’s applied for annexation and they’re totally willing to donate what needs to be developed if and when they annex to Heber. So, it’s kind of different depending on the area. Right now what we’re told is if 40 moves to this bypass and this becomes the state road then all of that would be purchased as part of that process, whatever hasn’t been purchased would be purchased. One of the reasons we’re trying to purchase it is to expedite the process and have the state look at it and say ‘Oh yeah they’ve already got most of the land.’ Makes it easier and less expensive to get this road put in.”
Some residents opposed to the creation of the parkway have proposed keeping Main Street the primary thoroughfare and designating another part of town to be a downtown-walkable area.
“It’s certainly something we can consider. The reason that hasn’t been discussed much is because all of the pushback—I was on the council for a term and I’ve been Mayor for a year and it’s always been a top priority of council. It’s always been a campaign issue, everyone wants to improve the Main Street. There is data that shows that when you create a Main Street somewhere else it’s not nearly as profitable and as successful at least studies that have been done in the country. So, it hasn’t gotten a lot of traction I know the people who will be impacted would prefer that but we have to look at the big picture and see what is best for everyone.”
Links to the proposed route can be found here.
Residents can provide their comments through March 20th to [email protected]