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.