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Layton seeks input on access to I-15

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LAYTON — City Officials are keen on improving I-15 access on the city's south side. They'd like the Utah Department of Transportation to fast-track this project but need more public input first.

To achieve that, the City Council and city staff are holding an open house on the "South Main Street I-15 Interchange" Wednesday, July 19, 5-7 p.m. at City Hall, 437 N. Wasatch Drive.

Layton City Planner Peter Matson said maps, aerial photographs and project consultants will be available at the open house.

"There also will be an opportunity to fill out a comment form," he said.

Layton mailed 230 notices to area property owners and is seeking as much public input as possible. Matson said city officials know the project is still years in the future.

The project is critical to future business growth on Layton's south end, and most interchange alternatives will wipe out some homes or private property.

When I-15 was constructed through the city in the 1960s, the south Layton interchange was short-changed with a fragmented access, with northbound and southbound ramps separated by a half-mile-long overpass. Main Street also was rerouted in a style that hindered Layton's original business district.

Layton hired an engineering firm that found four possible alternatives to improving the interchange. The council voted May 18 in favor of "Alternative 3A." This interchange, the most expensive option, would cost $11.3 million, including $1 million for property rights of way. One commercial building, an auto repair shop and one residential property would have to be relocated.

The "3A" plan calls for a new bridge over I-15 in a tight, diamond-interchange style, removing the Main Street bridge and eliminating the existing freeway ramps. An overpass would be built for $1.8 million over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and $1.8 million would be spent for adjacent sound walls.

A future expansion of this project would cost another $7 million. Constructing a new Main Street overpass would wipe out another $700,000 in private property. Otherwise, Main would be rerouted along Gentile-Fort Lane in an indirect fashion.

The council also favored the third option because it includes a railroad overpass, something the city lacks. The nearest railroad overpass to Layton is on the Clearfield border at Antelope Drive near Layton's northwest corner.

Councilman Renny Knowlton has said he's bothered that the alternative cuts off Main Street access.

Layton hired H.W. Lochner consulting engineers to study potential south Layton interchange designs. Even the cheapest option, "Alternative Zero," would cost $3.2 million, wipe out 24 mobile homes and include more than $500,000 in other commercial and residential property acquisition. It would feature a new onramp at Fort Lane and a new offramp at Main.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com