Construction of a long-awaited thoroughfare linking West Jordan with Midvale could begin by late summer.
The proposed Jordan River Boulevard, which has seemed interminably entangled in red tape associated with Midvale's status as an EPA Superfund site, would extend 7200 South six blocks farther west across an ore-slag dump to 1300 West.Also, it would hook up with the Bangerter Highway, providing the central Salt Lake Valley with an important east-west connection.
"It'll take care of some real bottlenecks," said City Manager Mike Siler, and City Councilman Dave Nicol said it would also help local commerce.
"I think it would be a big boost for our businesses along 7200 South," he said.
A major obstacle to the project was cleared recently when West Jordan agreed to share half the liability with Midvale for any hazardous-waste problems that could arise once the highway is built.
The Utah Department of Transportation has refused to proceed with the project until one or both of the cities signed off on that liability. The road would cut through a former ore-processing site littered with heavy-metal tainted slag. The EPA has plans to clean up the waste.
However, Siler said the chance of any lingering problems is "very slim."
Federal approval remains the only major stumbling block to the highway. The EPA must sign off on the project, and Siler said he hopes it will do so within a matter of weeks.
Cost of the $5 million highway will be shared. Each city will pay about $1 million, the state will contribute $1.2 million and the federal government will provide the rest.
The road would extend west from 7200 where it currently ends at Main Street (700 West) in Midvale. It would traverse wetlands and the slag site on the west side of town, cross the Jordan River, skirt the north edge of a West Jordan trailer park and tie into 7000 South at 1300 West.
The boulevard has been in the conceptual stage for years, and UDOT is still working out the design. There are no east-west roads from one side of the valley to the other between I-215, at about 6700 South, and 9000 South.