Thursday , April 20, 2017 - 5:00 AM
OGDEN — Barring a major change, the 24th Street interchange project long endorsed by Ogden city will finally get money from the state.
The project is one of 26 recommended for funding by the Utah Department of Transportation. The list was formulated after the Utah Legislature approved a bill this year that will allow the state to fund or accelerate certain transportation projects by bonding for $1 billion over the next four years.
After considering the public input, UDOT spokesman John Gleason said, the Utah Transportation Commission will make its final decision on the recommendations at its May meeting in Heber City — the last hurdle for the $96 million interchange project to be funded.
“We’re very excited about it, but we haven’t really been beating the drum quite yet because there is that final hoop we have to go through,” he said. “So we don’t really want to count our chickens before they hatch, but it (would be) great news for the city.”
As Interstate 15 and 24th Street are presently configured, motorists can reach 24th Street only from northbound I-15 and they can access only southbound I-15 from 24th Street. Motorists cannot enter northbound I-15 from 24th Street, nor can southbound I-15 motorists exit at 24th Street.
In addition to new on- and off-ramps for a full interchange, the most recent proposal for the multimillion interchange project also includes safety and capacity improvements on 24th Street as it runs through West Ogden.
North and southbound auxiliary lanes would be added on the freeway between the 24th Street and 21st Street interchanges, and 24th Street would be widened to four lanes, beginning at a new intersection planned at 2550 South and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Railroad tracks nearby would also have to be reconfigured, and pedestrian features and other safety improvements would be included. Construction on the project is still some distance away, currently set to begin in 2023.
According to an Ogden city corridor plan for 24th Street, a full interchange for the road has been discussed as far back as the 1960s, around the time I-15 was built.
“This is something Ogden city has been pushing for for a long time — long before my time,” said Caldwell, who became mayor in 2012.
So, as in many previous years, the project was one of Ogden’s top priorities for the 2017 legislative session.
But the plan got some extra leverage this year when the Northern Utah Chamber Coalition — made up of chamber of commerce representatives from the Brigham City area and Weber, Davis, Morgan and Cache counties — also made it their top legislative priority.
NUCC chair Chris Dallin and Caldwell both said the project will be good for Ogden’s economy, improve traffic flow and provide better access to the city’s downtown area.
You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer/.
Sign up for e-mail news updates.