Northern Utah cities want West Davis Corridor tagged as scenic byway

Sunday , January 14, 2018 - 5:00 AM

MITCH SHAW, Standard-Examiner Staff

FARMINGTON — A group of Northern Utah municipalities is pushing the state to designate the future West Davis Corridor a scenic byway.

The group includes Farmington, Layton, Kaysville, Syracuse and West Point, but the move is being organized by the Great Salt Lake Legacy Parkway Scenic Byway Committee.

Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk chairs the committee and said the effort is driven by a desire to increase tourism in the area of the corridor, namely at Antelope Island.

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The group also wants the Davis County Causeway — which leads to the island and will connect to the future highway — to be included in the scenic byway designation.

The $725 million, 19-mile West Davis Corridor will begin in Farmington, connecting with Interstate 15 and the Legacy Parkway at Glovers Lane. The highway will terminate at 1800 North in West Point. The new road will connect to existing state highways and city streets through six new interchanges.

“The Legacy Parkway has already been designated a scenic byway,” Uresk said. “So, we’re just looking to extend that status to the West Davis Corridor and the causeway. We want to get people out to the island and we’d basically use this status as advertising.”

Uresk said a state scenic byway designation will prohibit outdoor advertising billboards, allow for scenic byway indicators on road maps (which will encourage tourists to use the road) and make the road eligible for a National Scenic Byway designation. The national designation would allow Utah entities to go after federal funding for roadway improvements.

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The committee will hold a public hearing on the effort from 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Farmington City Building, 160 S. Main, Farmington.

Uresk said the committee will likely submit an application to the Utah State Scenic Byway Committee by Feb. 5. He said so far the idea has been almost universally accepted.

“The only people who might have some heartache are the outdoor advertising people,” he said. 

If the corridor is approved for scenic byway status, Uresk said the entire system, including the presently named Legacy Parkway Scenic Byway, would be renamed “Great Salt Lake Scenic Byway.” 

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Vic Saunders said a scenic byway designation would not impact speeds or freight truck travel on the road. 

Legacy Parkway’s current 55 mph speed limit and freight truck prohibition are required by a settlement agreement that was reached by the state and citizen activist groups in 2005. 

A Sierra Club lawsuit halted construction on the parkway in 2001. A settlement agreement reached four years later included the speed and truck restrictions, but those are set to expire in 2020.

Construction on the West Davis Corridor is set to begin in 2020, with the road opening to the public by 2022.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer.

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