History of Proposed Wasatch Blvd Expansion
The residential strip of Wasatch Blvd (Hwy 210) within Cottonwood Heights is under scrutiny by UDOT to be widened to 6 or 7 lanes (as currently available in their June 8, 2020 LCC EIS Preferred Alternatives). This residential section is owned by the State of Utah. It is not a Cottonwood Heights’ city street. Therefore, CH is not in control and only acting in an advisory capacity to UDOT. Other influencing entities are the Utah Legislature and its Transportation Committee, WFRC (Wasatch Front Regional Council) which is a consortium of municipalities, UTA, UDOT and various associations that administer funding on behalf of Utah State Legislature, and the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office.
Current speed limit of Wasatch Blvd through Cottonwood Heights’ residential area: 50 MPH
Current lanes: 2 with occasional left-hand turning lanes. Current width of each lane: 11′ Proposed within expansion are 6 to 7 lanes of 11′ lanes including bicycling dedicated lanes. Bicycle lanes appear in diagrams as “unprotected”. A protected “shared use path” along only one side of the road is indicated. How will pedestrians and bicyclists be able to cross over this enormous highway structure every block or so as one needs to do in a walkable residential community?
The widening of Wasatch Blvd into a highway will mean irrevocably dividing a residential community, removal of old-growth pine trees, other natural landscape and homes to make way for more asphalt. Noise, light and air pollution through the residential stretch will be forever increased.
April, 2019: UDOT’s inital proposal based on alleviating ski traffic, was met by unanimous push back by local residents along the Wasatch Front who expressed that widening the 2-mile stretch which feeds into a two, maximum 3-lane, Little Cottonwood Canyon Highway would create a worse bottleneck of traffic at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon than what currently plagues skiers, locals and commuters currently during peak ski season. UDOT held a public Open House in which
June, 2019: Over 800 local citizens signed Petition addressing concern over UDOT’s intended expansion project. It was presented to both Cottonwood Heights City Council and to John Thomas, Project Manager/UDOT.
July, 2019: Cottonwood Heights City Council approves a Cottonwood Heights Wasatch Blvd Master Plan which includes a diagram suggesting 4 – 11′ wide “multi-function” lanes plus pedestrian and bicycle lanes for the 2-mile stretch.
October, 2019: WFRC announces their Wasatch Choice 2050 plan for Salt Lake Valley. They suggest 5-lanes for Cottonwood Heights section of Wasatch Blvd.
November, 2019: UDOT’s Revised Little Cottonwood EIS does not address the danger factors of 50MPH speeds through this resdidential community. UDOT is analyzing how many houses to remove by imminent domain to accomplish this. Danger factors for fatalities for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians when speeds are more than 30MPH through a residential community are well documented. Air pollution from additional asphalting, fresh dust/small particulate matter kicked up by heightended vehicle numbers travelling a high speeds, nor the long-term mainenance costs of a widened road were not included in UDOT’s EIS.
Save Not Pave – Wasatch FB comes out with a critique of the Revised Little Cottonwood EIS.
The needs of school children getting to their schools and parks has not been examined.
May 5, 2020: UDOT announces yet another newly revised “Little Cottonwood Canyon EIS”. Disturbing elements of the new Environmental Impact Statement: The lower 35MPH speed limit verbally promised by the previous Little Cottonwood EIS Project Manager John Thomas in 2019 is no longer included as an option.
June 8, 2020: UDOT indicates that they have examined their options and has put forth their preferred alternatives. Announcement of their finalized selected plan will occur in 2021 with building to commence thereafter.
Get links to above referenced documents and other resources.