Ribbon-cutting planned for new road to future USU Moab campus

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 19 at the newly named Aggie Boulevard – on the west side of Highway 191 at Mill Creek Drive – a road that will help facilitate the construction of Utah State University’s Moab campus. Photo by Doug McMurdo

The community is invited to join the City of Moab, Grand County, and Utah State University Moab in celebrating the completion of the newly named Aggie Boulevard. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the official opening of the new road to the future USU Moab campus will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, according to City of Moab Communication and Engagement Manager Lisa Church.

Construction crews are expected to complete paving, striping, and other final projects this week and the road will not be open to traffic until after the Sept. 19 ribbon-cutting. Those who attend the celebration are encouraged to carpool, as parking space is limited, said Church.

The $3.85 million project was funded in large part by a $1.45 million combination grant and loan from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board in 2017, along with $1.2 million in combined matching funds from the city, county and the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), as well as an almost $1.2 million in-kind contribution from USU for land acquisition and master planning.

USU officials said students and faculty are excited by the completion of this milestone, which moves the university one step closer to its plans for a new campus in Moab, said Church.

“Moab City, Grand County, and the Community Impact Board have done so much to support USU Moab,” said Lianna Etchberger, associate vice president of USU Moab. “Without a new road, we wouldn’t be able to move forward with our plans for a new building. We appreciate their commitment to USU Moab as the local university, and are thrilled that the Moab City Council recently approved naming the road Aggie Boulevard.”

Design and construction details were also planned for the future and with city and USU’s sustainability goals in mind, said Moab City Engineer Chuck Williams.

“The roadway is built so that it can be expanded into a four-lane road if traffic volumes in the future warrant,” Williams said. “The design also includes dark sky compliant lighting, low-water-use landscaping, and storm water retention facilities. We also worked to minimize the roadway profile as much as possible since the new campus will be built on the hilltop.”

Throughout the design and construction phases, the contractors coordinated with the Grand Water & Sewer Service Agency, which will own the culinary water and sanitary sewer lines that were installed in anticipation of the future USU Moab campus, said Church.

City and county officials worked for several years to acquire the CIB funding and set aside money to cover the match required for that state funding. The long-term effort also demonstrates the strong support of local governments, past and present, for the expansion of educational opportunities in the Moab area, said Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus. She said previous city officials deserve much credit for making the road project possible.

“We’re so grateful for the efforts of former Mayor Dave Sakrison, former City Manager Donna Metzler, and previous city council members and staff who worked so hard to bring this project to fruition,” Niehaus said.