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UVSC MAY TAKE ROUNDABOUT APPROACH

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A European-style roundabout in front of Utah Valley State College is part of a solution unveiled last week to the traffic problems around the school.

If funding is approved by the Legislature, it will be the first roundabout constructed in Utah.A roundabout is a circular road with entrances and exits for drivers to enter and leave. Transportation consultant Ron Mortimer of Fehr & Peers Associates Inc. told the UVSC board of trustees that roundabouts are not new to the United States.

"We're dealing with university types here," he said. "They should be able to adapt quickly."

Other solutions include constructing a drop-off point at the entrance that would serve buses and a short-term parking area; widening College Drive, which surrounds the campus; and improving access to nearby I-15. If approved, the contract for the first phase should be let by May with construction starting in June, Mortimer said.

The $6.8 million project is divided into two phases of $3.4 million each, Mortimer said. According to a Division of Facilities and Construction Management spokesman, the project grew from an initial $1 million project requested by college administrators to its present size after local state legislators got involved.

The legislators wanted engineers to look at the larger traffic problem to see how it could be resolved, the division spokesman said.

First-phase plans include the roundabout and widening College Drive to three lanes with traffic flowing in both directions. A middle turn lane could double for a traffic lane during high-impact special events. Some sections may go to four lanes, Mortimer said.

Second-phase plans call for constructing a new access to the campus from the northbound 1-15 off-ramp that will require two undercrossings. One would be on the east side under 1200 South and the other under the northbound I-15 on-ramp.

Mortimer said that while access to the college would be improved, the reconstruction of the 1200 South interchange is likely five years away.

The traffic surrounding UVSC has been a major source of neighborhood complaints. But Mortimer said that a traffic study done last Thursday when the campus was closed for snow removal showed that most of the traffic along 400 West was non-students. He said comparative studies show that from only 15 percent to 25 percent of the traffic is students. A major entrance to the campus comes off that street.

The campus generates about 30,000 trips a day, or 2.1 trips per student, Mortimer said, but access is divided among the several entrances. That number factors in the staff and guests who also drive to the campus. He said 30,000 trips is half the traffic a mall of similar size would generate.

President Kerry Romesburg said the neighbors along 800 West have complained about student traffic, as well. "But if students are on 800 West on their way to school, they're lost," he said.

Val Peterson, UVSC's public relations director, will be meeting with neighbors to give them a voice on the campus traffic problems. The first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the campus ballroom.