City council weighs overnight construction for 191 widening

Drivers negotiate the northbound lane merge of Highway 191 near 400 North. The bottleneck in this section could go away by the end of 2020, but night-time construction might be necessary to get it done in that timeframe. Photo by Carter Pape

Construction on Highway 191 north of downtown at the highway’s bottleneck could start as early as this fall. The project will widen the highway to five lanes, two in each direction with a center turn lane.

The project could be completed within a year, but restrictions on development could extend the timeline. In particular, if the city allows roadwork to take place at night, the project will be much quicker, but this might negatively impact the few residential properties located near the construction zone.

Weather and forecasts will also be a factor in the project’s timeline. UDOT limits its asphalt pouring and resurfacing operations to warm months, and stormwater could impact plans to build a drain that runs underneath the highway.

Ryan Anderson, a representative from the Utah Department of Transportation, briefed the city council at a meeting on Tuesday, May 28.

Part of the purpose of his visit was to get feedback about how to structure the project and to hear from the local experts where there was a potential for local impact during the project and how to mitigate those impacts.

At this stage, according to Anderson, it is hard to know exactly how long the project could take; a contractor will be needed to do the work, since UDOT does not typically execute the construction of major projects.

Regardless of who is hired to do the work, UDOT through its agreement with the eventual contractor will set the parameters for the project. Anderson said UDOT would consult with the city before finalizing the parameters of its request for project bids.

This process will give locals an opportunity to weigh in along with the council on certain aspects of how the project will be undertaken, in particular, whether night work will be allowed and where.