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Worried that their neighborhood is being "invaded with high capacity traffic" that will attract gangs, a citizens' coalition has submitted a petition of 758 names to city officials protesting the development of 9800 South at Bangerter Highway.

The leader of the South Jordan Citizens' Forum group, resident Craig Norton, said other petitions are being gathered. The final number of citizens who are angry about the road development will exceed 2,000, said Norton.Nearly 400 citizens recently protested that 9800 South seems to be planned as a main artery street to the yet-to-be-completed Bangerter Highway. They fear the busy street will endanger their children who attend schools along 9800 South, create noise and air pollution and destroy their quality of life. What angers the South Jordan Citizens' Forum group most is their suspicion city officials are changing the master plan without their involvement.

"We feel that South Jordan is unique in that most of the citizens move here to get that quality of life that we feel is missing in other communities," said Norton. "Our community does not have starter homes. . . . People here come to live, to put down roots and raise a quality family."

The citizens' group understands, Norton said, that industrial and residential growth must be balanced.

"People like what they have, and they don't want to downgrade our community's standard of living. Opening the 9800 South artery into our neighborhood not only increases the possibility of gang activity, it encourages it," said Norton.

Despite accusations that South Jordan officials have secretly changed plans to develop 9800 South into a major four-lane street, City Administrator Tony Murphy says the city has never had such plans.

The road has always been presented on the city's master plan as a 66-foot wide, two-lane road with a middle passing lane, Murphy said.

But Norton is not convinced the city does not have alternative plans. In addition to collecting signatures on petitions, Norton is sending a letter to the Department of Transportation outlining the group's concerns.

The group requests that UDOT provide a skywalk at the intersection of 9800 South and Bangerter Highway (3600 West) to protect children crossing the street to Elk Ridge Middle School, which will open this fall.

"In the most recent weeks, we have noticed the rapid improvement of 9800 South through the area between 2700 West and 3600 West," Norton writes in his letter to UDOT.

"We feel this is being done by the city of South Jordan in order to have UDOT reconsider their request for the at-grade intersection that they have requested. By opening up 9800 South with an at-grade intersection to high capacity traffic, UDOT will impact the children in five schools."