Supporters of the so-called "Skier Connect" road hoped that the dirt they shoveled at a recent groundbreaking ceremony buried opposition from nearby business owners.
But the businesses in Sandy's main shopping district aren't going to take what they see as rerouting their customers lying down, said John Milliken, one of the owners of the Sandy Mall.The $1.4 million road will connect 90th South to 94th South east of Seventh East, bypassing that mall and other shopping centers at the intersection of 94th South and Seventh East.
Although the coalition of business owners and residents formed to oppose the road were recently denied a temporary restraining order in 3rd District Court, they were to seek a preliminary injunction Monday, Milliken said.
The Coalition for a Better Sandy and Sandy Development Partners, the owners of the Sandy Mall, have already served notice on the city and the Utah Department of Transportation that they intend to pursue their legal fight.
If city or state officials are concerned about the suit, they weren't showing it at the ceremony last Thursday on a family ranch near the Jordan Technical Center, 825 E. 9085 South.
Sandy Mayor Steve Newton passed out toy bulldozers and similar humorous gifts to state lawmakers and others involved in the project. For Milliken, who wasn't there, Newton held up a brown bag he said contained cow manure.
"This gives you an idea as to how we have been treated," Milliken said, adding that he was not amused by the incident and believed it embarrassed residents.
Although the coalition was formed early last year, soon after Sandy Mall officials first heard about the road, there has been opposition since it was first proposed in the mid 1970s.
Businesses complain that the new road will cost them customers who will bypass the busy intersection. Homeowners in the area, Milliken said, believed that the city planned a park where the road and its accompanying commercial development will be.
And, Milliken argues, there is no reason to build the road according to data the coalition has assembled showing that it will route traffic to an even busier intersection and through a residential area.
"Nothing about it makes sense," he said. "We feel the road is a waste of taxpayers' dollars."
But city officials and other proponents of the road, which includes the Sandy Chamber of Commerce, say that the road will ease east-west commuter congestion and give tourists an easier route from the freeway to area ski resorts.
How much skier traffic the road will see is debatable. Newton said that the term "Ski Connect" was coined to help sell lawmakers on funding the project, which he said will primarily serve local residents as they travel to and from the freeway.
However, Doug Thompson, the chairman of the Sandy Chamber of Commerce, said that the road will help efforts to promote the city as "The Gateway to Four Major Ski Resorts."
Thompson also said the new road might attract hotels and motels to the area, although Newton said that wasn't likely. "The greatest gain is transportation," the mayor said, calling any potential economic gains minor.
One area that Newton said would ultimately benefit from the road, ironically, is the 94th South and Seventh East intersection.