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200 `VOTE' ON I-15 PLANS AT S.L. MEET

Nearly 200 people filed into the Salt Lake City Council chambers Tuesday evening to look over and cast ballots for one of five options for rebuilding I-15 at the north end of the city.

The open house is one of two scheduled this week - the other is Wednesday night in the City-County building at 6 p.m. - to gauge public opinion as the city and Utah Department of Transportation attempt to find a consensus for the road project.The city plans to hold at least one more community meeting on Oct. 13 in Poplar Grove before choosing an option to recommend to the Planning Commission and City Council. UDOT expects to receive word on the city's preferred alternative by December.

All of the options are primarily aimed at getting traffic smoothly into the city's commercial business district and to the University of Utah.

The options carry price tags that range from $11.9 million to $26.5 million and require UDOT to buy from nine to 34 properties to accommodate an expanded freeway. The only similarity shared by the options is a six-lane viaduct at 400 South. But who uses the 400 South access varies from one option to another.

A heavy turnout of residents concerned about what the options might do to West High School and the city's west side helped give "Option K" front-runner status Tuesday. About half of the people who turned in questionnaires listed that option as their top choice.

But "Option E" also got a lot of support. About one-third of the questionnaires listed it as the preferred design.

The two options couldn't be more different, which may pose an interesting dilemma for the city as it selects a preferred design.

Option E places freeway ramps to and from the north at North Temple, adds high-occupancyvehicle lanes for north- and south-bound traffic at 400 South, and creates one-way streets on 300 West and 400 West between 600 North and 200 South.

Option K does not include one-way streets on 300 West and 400 West. It reconfigures the ramp at 600 North for north- and south-bound traffic and adds on-ramps and off-ramps from the viaduct to 400 West.

It also uses a ramp at 400 South for traffic to and from the north and for high-occupancy-vehicle traffic to and from the south.

Cynthia Ong, who lives on the city's east side but sends her children to West High School, said Option K has "the least impact on dividing the community and doesn't stop the flow of traffic east and west."

Like other residents concerned about the impact on West High, Ong said a proposal for one-way streets on 300 West and 400 West would pose a safety problem for students, make the school an island and further isolate the west side from the rest of the city.

As late as Monday evening, Option K included high-occupancy-vehicle lanes to and from the north at North Temple - much to the chagrin of city officials, who repeatedly have told UDOT any sort of freeway access at North Temple is unacceptable.

The version of Option K showcased Tuesday showed only the potential for carpool lanes at some point between 600 North and 200 South in the future. Deputy Mayor Brian Hatch said there was confusion on the issue and that the city and UDOT "had sorted that out."

"We felt that was an option that we should deal with when they're ready to deal with rebuilding I-15 in Davis County," Hatch said. "Until they build (high occupancy vehicle) lanes into Davis County, there'll be no (high occupancy vehicle) traffic that will require the off-ramp."

But Douglas S. Atkins, UDOT project manager for I-15, said the department has to come up with a way to handle high-occupancy traffic from the north. UDOT planners think it (North Temple) is a natural place to put the ramps because of the already existing viaduct at the site.

Putting the high-occupancy-vehicle ramps at 400 South, as has been suggested by some people, would "eliminate the whole incentive (for carpooling). You'd just end up stuck with everybody else."

It would also be physically impossible because of the general purpose of on- and off-ramps from the north at 400 South.

Some residents who looked over the options Tuesday night said they all fall short of the sort of progressive planning needed.

"We are still not addressing the main issue," Monte Hanks wrote on his questionnaire. "We need alternative modes of transportation within the city - more accessible bus routes and a light-rail system. Yes, we need to improve our antiquated freeways, but we must implement plans to decrease vehicle use, especially within the city."

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

UDOT is looking at 5 options

The Utah Department of Transportation is looking at five options for handling traffic into downtown Salt Lake City as part of rebuilding I-15:

Option E

- Ramps at North Temple for traffic to and from the north

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the north and south at 400 South

- One-way streets at 300 West (north) and 400 West (south) between 600 North and 200 South

Property taken: 9 structures

Cost: $11.9 million

Option J

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the north at North Temple

- Ramps for traffic to and from the north at 400 South

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the south at 400 South

- One-way streets at 300 West (north) and 400 West (south) between 600 North and 200 South

Property taken: 29 structures

Cost: $18.5 million

Option K

- Rebuild interchange at 600 North for north- and south-bound traffic

- Ramps at 400 West to access 600 North interchange

- Ramps for traffic to and from the north at 400 South

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the south at 400 South

- Provisions to add high occupancy vehicle lanes to and from the north at some point between 600 North and 200 South in the future

Property taken: 29 structures

Cost: $13.3 million

Option L

- Rebuild interchange at 600 North for north- and south-bound traffic

- Ramps at 400 West to access 600 North interchange

- Ramps from traffic to and from the north at 200 South, including at new six-lane viaduct at 200 South

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the north and south at 400 South

Property taken: 25 structures

Cost: $26.5 million

Option M

- Rebuild interchange at 600 North for north- and south-bound traffic

- Ramps at 400 West to access 600 North interchange

- Ramps for high occupancy traffic to and from the north and south at 200 South, including a new, six-lane viaduct

- Ramps for traffic to and from the north at 400 South

Property taken: 35 structures

Cost: $25.6 million