This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Western Salt Lake County's Bangerter Highway often acts as a Great Wall of China that hinders east-west travel across it, sometimes backing up cross traffic for blocks at long stop lights.
But the Utah Department of Transportation is spending $88 million this summer on nine separate projects there stretching from Salt Lake City International Airport to 9000 South to attempt to ease that problem and maintain highway surfaces.
Projects range from adding a bridge to allow Bangerter to pass over 7800 South, to adding a new "diverging diamond" intersection at SR-201 and adding "continuous flow intersections" (now used at 3500, 4700 and 5400 South) to help eliminate left-turn cycles at 3100, 4100, 6200 and 7000 South.
So much is happening at the same time that UDOT officially calls it the "Bangerter 2.0" highway upgrade.
"It's going to be very nice. It's going to flow well. It's going to ride well. East-west traffic will be improved through the whole area. I think the pain that people are going to suffer this summer is going to be well rewarded next year," said Tim Rose, deputy director of UDOT Region Two.
But this summer, Bangerter will be a long succession of orange traffic barrels.
Why so many projects at the same time? "The funding just kind of fell out that way," Rose said. "The good thing is we will be mostly out of there after this summer" so construction there will not drag on for years.
Rose said most construction will be scheduled outside of rush hours, "so I don't think people need to avoid the road. We're going to do a lot of work at night. ... If someone is driving down there at 10 p.m., they are going to see a lot of orange barrels and delays. But during the day, you are going to see very little impact."
Following are descriptions of the projects planned this summer, from north to south.
Airport to SR-201 • UDOT is spending $3.2 million on a project to repair and maintain concrete paving in that stretch. It includes grinding edges of concrete slabs that are not level, and fixing broken edges and cracks.
SR-201 Interchange • UDOT is spending $9.5 million to convert the interchange to a new "diverging diamond." Its unusual design will motorists on Bangerter driving briefly on the opposite side of the road from what they are accustomed.
The design does away with left turns that must clear opposing traffic. That allows more "green time" for other signals, and speeds movement through the interchange.
The project will also add an auxiliary eastbound lane on SR-201 between Bangerter and Interstate 215.
Four continuous flow intersections • Four projects will add such interchanges at 3100, 4100, 6200 and 7000 South.
Such interchanges previously were built at 3500, 4700 and 5400 South. They require drivers who seek to turn left off Bangerter to cross to a special lane at the opposite side of the highway at signals several hundred feet before the actual intersections.
The design eliminates a left-turn cycle off of Bangerter. That allows more "green time" for other signals. The four projects will cost a total of $24 million.
"People didn't like it when they first saw it. But now, I think it's pretty unanimous that it's a necessity" to move traffic faster, Rose said.
4100 to 6200 South • UDOT is spending $4 million there to repair and maintain concrete paving. That will include grinding edges of concrete slabs that are not level, and fixing broken edges and cracks.
7800 South • "Bangerter Highway will actually be going over the top of 7800 South," Rose said, allowing traffic on it to avoid current stops. It should also speed traffic on 7800 South by requiring shorter stops there.
That major bridge project will cost $47 million and will not be completed until summer 2012.
Rose said UDOT has scheduled construction to minimize it between Thanksgiving and New Year's, so that it will interfere less with holiday shoppers going to the large Jordan Landing shopping area. Most major construction on that project will occur next year.
9000 South •UDOT is spending $200,000 there to install dual left turns and medians for safety.
O Updates about the projects along with maps and more detailed information is available online at http://www.udot.utah.gov/bangerter2.0.