Questions remain around impact of UDOT’s I-15 widening options

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The question of how many homes or businesses might be impacted remains as the Utah Department of Transportation considers options to widen a 17-mile stretch of I-15 from Salt Lake City to Farmington.

Why it matters: Salt Lake City west side leaders and residents fear widening the highway would disproportionately impact low-income people and people of color, Axios previously reported.

Of note: Eminent domain legally allows the government to utilize private properties for public use after providing property owners fair compensation for their land.

What they’re saying: When asked by a reporter during a PBS Utah news conference last week whether Utahns who live close to the freeway should prepare to move, Gov. Spencer Cox said, “I hope not, honestly.”

  • “If we do have to move some of those families, they will be very well-compensated for that. We try to avoid that at any cost,” he said.
  • “I’m never a fan of forcing people out or forcing people to move unless there really is no other possible route.”

Context: The proposed freeway expansion is in response to Utah’s fast-growing population.

  • If nothing is done, UDOT said commute times could triple by 2060.

Between the lines: Many houses and trailer parks are located along the freeway, particularly in Bountiful and Salt Lake City.

  • Properties close to freeways tend to be lower in value because they are considered undesirable due to noise and pollution.

The latest: John Gleason, a UDOT spokesperson, told Axios on Friday the agency is still studying the proposal’s impact and has not determined the number of residents and business owners who would be affected.

  • “At this point, we’re still in the middle of the public comment period,” Gleason said. “We don’t know the amount of space the alternatives would require.”

What’s next: The public comment period for the UDOT proposals ends on Jan. 13.

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