A Beautiful Highway In Utah Debuts

September 13, 2008

Legacy Parkway was officially opened in northern Utah. The 11.5-mile (18.5-kilometer)-long four-lane controlled-access highway had been built to provide an alternate route for commuters in the area and significantly reduce traffic congestion in that region of the Beehive State. Legacy Parkway, which is designated as Utah State Route 67, starts at an interchange with Interstate 215 in Salt Lake City and continues north to end at the Wasatch Weave interchange in the city of Farmington.

There was considerable controversy over the construction of Legacy Parkway, with environmentalists expressing strong concerns about how the new route might impact the sensitive wetlands of the Great Salt Lake in the area. Ultimately, however, these concerns were addressed and accommodated in an out-of-court settlement. This compromise resulted in Legacy Parkway being designated as a scenic byway and featuring a 2,225-acre (900.4-hectare) wildlife preserve; a multi-use trail system; a speed limit of 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) per hour; and a ban on large trucks except in emergencies.

Hundreds of people showed up for the Saturday afternoon opening of Legacy Parkway. The public officials on hand for the occasion included Utah Governor Jon Huntsman; Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Director (and former AASHTO president) John Njord; and Utah Transportation Commission chairman Stuart Adams. “The Legacy Parkway is done,” proclaimed Njord in his remarks during the ceremony. “The Legacy begins today.”

Another part of the festivities involved having Huntsman, Njord, Adams, and others riding on motorcycles on a section of the new highway. They were accompanied by a motorcade of classic automobiles, Utah Highway Patrol motorcycles, and construction company pickups. The day’s other activities centered around the debut of Legacy Parkway included a morning run, walk, and bicycle ride along the route to raise funds for cancer research. More than 1,300 people altogether participated in those activities.

Then-UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras, who currently serves as UDOT director and AASHTO vice president, played a key role in making Legacy Parkway a reality. His responsibilities included developing the environmental documents and design-build contracts for the project. On average, 20,000 to 23,000 vehicles use Legacy Parkway on a daily basis. For more information on Legacy Parkway, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legacy_Parkway and https://planningtools.transportation.org/290/view-case-study.html?case_id=170.

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