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UDOT unrealistic, Eagle Mountain leaders say

Agency told town to curb growth until roads are built

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EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Eagle Mountain leaders want to make their sentiments clear: They think it's both unrealistic and unhelpful for Utah transportation officials to brush off the frustrating road situation in Cedar Valley with a quick, flip answer.

They are taking issue with comments made Friday by Glen Brown, a state transportation commissioner. After a tour of the area, during which Eagle Mountain officials tried to show the startling growth in the area, Brown said it's impossible for the state department of transportation to keep up with the area's burgeoning need.

His suggestion for the road woes: The city should curb growth until UDOT can catch up.

Brown said it would be at least 2030 before anything could be done to expand U-73, the two-lane highway that carries traffic from Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort, Fairfield and Saratoga Springs into Lehi and beyond.

"We were dumbfounded," said Eagle Mountain City Administrator Chris Hillman. "It seemed to be an unproductive suggestion. There is literally only one way in and out of town for us. There's a need, especially in terms of safety, that we're trying to convey.

Hillman said residents and city leaders are "jumping up and down here trying to get attention before it gets much, much worse."

Mayor Kelvin Bailey said UDOT officials should have been prepared for the growth

"It's absurd to request us to stop issuing building permits because we now have a problem that they didn't think about before," Bailey said. "Are we simply going to tell our builders, 'Sorry, you can't build here for the next 30 years because the state can't solve a road problem?' "

Incorporated six years ago, Eagle Mountain currently supports 8,000 people and is growing at a rate of 25 percent per year. Hillman predicts the population will top 10,000 in two years.

"We want to work with the state in planning and preparing for this growth — not stop it," Bailey said. "We need their help and they're telling us to go away. It's frustrating and inappropriate from leaders appointed to solve problems and serve the citizens."

Tom Hudachko, a UDOT spokesman, said UDOT is hard-pressed to make everybody happy given the budget constraints and demand for more and better roads all over the state.

Hudachko said Brown wanted to emphasize that everyone needs to work together to find solutions. "This is a dilemma we face east-west-north-south in this state," Hudachko said. "It will take collaboration and cooperation to find ways to fund solutions."

He said it is most helpful if the department's attention is brought to a potential situation in the planning and development stages.

"We recognize something needs to be done," Hudachko said. "That's why we've done the north corridor study and others in that area."

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com