The name of a proposed collector road off I-84 on the west side of town that would be in front of the Posse Grounds, turn south through the currently undeveloped property east of Canyon Meadows Park, cross South Weber Drive near 7200 South (800 East), continue south toward the base of the hillside, turn east and potentially go up the hill and finally south to connect with Layton City.
SBD’s proposed alignment from I-84 to Layton solves two major problems, both of which are more future problems than current ones. However, planning can meet current needs and establish a path to solving future ones as well.
The biggest problem that SBD solves is the need for a collector road in the west side of town, especially when it eventually connects to South Weber Drive. It will provide additional safety for cars, pedestrians, and residents along 475 East and help return 475 to more of a local road. It is intended to reduce the speed on 475 East due to the slight turn and stop as 475 East intersects with SBD at the “sweeping T”. More than 475 East being residential, the future neighborhoods will be preserved and protected from too much traffic on a local road. People, like water, take the path of least resistance when they travel. The planning for a collector will get people in and out of the neighborhood more quickly and safely, while also maintaining the integrity of the community. Not identifying a collector through this area potentially creates more problems for residents who will be living in, and traveling through, the area.
The second problem SBD would solve is congestion. The entrances/exits to South Weber City on both ends will continue to get more crowded as landowners decide they want to build, whether it be residential or commercial development. As more people live in South Weber, the only way to relieve congestion will be to have more lanes in and out of the City. Since large expansion of the current roads is unlikely, more lanes simply means other roads that connect in and out of the City. Options to establish such connections are very limited. This problem, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be solved by SBD, although a collector through this area that flows up the hill makes some sense. It stands to reason that any road that connects to another City would be used as a collector and it would be better to have a predesigned collector instead of having traffic funnel to what may be a local road.
Although this is closely tied to the second problem, another problem SBD solves is emergency ingress and egress. Again, not saying SBD is the only way to solve this problem, but it is one way, that when coupled with the other problems SBD solves is a good thing. South Weber City has many potential hazards that could affect all parts of the City. The Uintah Fire highlighted the potential need to exit the City quickly, and that evacuation was a fraction of the community. If a large disaster were to take place and more of the City needed to exit, having additional options to exit the City would be much safer than it is today, especially considering additional population that may be in the area if the incident happened very far into the future. Also, while the City is served with fire protection internally, outside emergency responders are frequently needed for backup; and the City relies solely on outside services for police protection. The ability for these emergency responders to get into the City is also a significant need.
For decades, South Weber City has discussed the need to connect with Layton City for connectivity, congestion, and potential emergency reasons. The Layton connection has been an idea to address a growing need. The current General Plan, adopted in 2014, identifies two potential ways to connect – 1900 East & Old Fort Road.
1900 East & Old Fort Road both have shortcomings. 1900 East is a residential road and although it has become a collector it was not designed and built as such; many homes front onto 1900 East. There have been documented landslides in various locations along the hillside and studies done to understand contributing factors. Old Fort Road was thought to be a frontage/collector that would come off I-84 and go in front of the Posse Grounds, remain along the south side of I-84 and connect into the Cottonwood Cove subdivision, which turns south at 1200 East, intersects with South Weber Drive, wind slightly to the south to go past the elementary school at 1160 East and then potentially go up the hill and connect to Layton City. Like 1900 East, the Old Fort Road alignment would take traffic directly into a subdivision. It also took traffic past South Weber Elementary and would require the removal of some existing building structures.
A few years after the general plan, a traffic study was performed by Horrocks Engineers. It was started in 2017 and completed and presented to City Council in 2018. As part of the study, the concerns with the Old Fort Road alignment were investigated and an alternative route was proposed. This became known as South Bench Drive. It would take the same route as the original Old Fort Road alignment at its starting point with the difference being that it would turn south before reaching the Cottonwood Cove subdivision. It could intersect with South Weber Drive near 7200 S (800 East) without requiring the removal of any homes and eventually connecting again with the Old Fort Road alignment as it goes up the hill and connects to Layton City. At the time it was discussed that the change in alignment would need to be discussed and included in the next update of the General Plan if it were to become the preferred alignment.
The current alignment was placed on the Transportation Map “for reference” when the Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) was updated by Horrocks Engineers. The CFP was adopted in an open and public meeting July 10, 2018.
The decision at the time was not to amend the entire Transportation Map, but to have the conversation whether the SBD alignment was preferred to the 1900 East or Old Fort Road alignments during the next General Plan update, which is taking place right now.
It was placed on the map as an idea, or alternate to the other ideas adopted on the General Plan, knowing that it would need to be accepted in order to become part of the General Plan during the next update. Public input on the various aspects and portions of the SBD alignment is being received now as part of the General Plan public review & comment period, open until October 11.
The General Plan is not adopted strictly by popular vote. Ultimately, the City Council is the decision-making body tasked with adopting a General Plan for the City. Public input is a major component of the City Council’s decision-making process and will play a major role in the final decision to continue with, amend or remove all or parts of SBD on the General Plan. Each City Council member must make the decision how much each deciding factor, including public input, is weighted in their choice.
That depends on which section of the road we are talking about:
- Phase I (475 E to Harvest Park subdivision, just east of the Posse Grounds) – Done Deal
- Every other section – NOT a Done Deal
The only portion that is absolutely certain is the portion being constructed right now – Phase I, which would have been the same regardless of the Old Fort Road or South Bench Drive alignment.
Additional portions of the road north of South Weber Drive will occur when property owners decide they want to develop their property. Portions south of South Weber Drive within the valley also will occur when property owners decide they want to develop their property. The City has never even considered using eminent domain to obtain property for SBD. The purpose of an approximate alignment in the General Plan is to protect a future corridor and ensure that as development randomly occurs (and potentially built in segments), the alignment will be preserved and someday when it’s all connected the road will serve as a collector that was built for that purpose.
The section going up the hill has the most unknowns. There have been landslides in various areas along the hillside and quite a number of studies indicating the hillside has potential for additional slides. Those studies were not specifically conducted to answer the question of whether a road could be built up the hill. This is yet to be determined.
Not being a done deal could mean many things, including potentially changing the alignment in the valley or never going up the hill. Many solutions are still possible.
The current construction project off I-84 and going past the Posse Grounds to the end of the Harvest Park subdivision (just east of the Posse Grounds), titled SBD Phase I, is being constructed now because the road in this area was in dire need of repair, a couple of developments in the area were required to have an improved roadway and access, and this section has been on the General Plan.
This section will serve a great purpose, whether or not the road eventually connects with Layton. This area of town is the largest remaining undeveloped land of any part of the community. It will remain that way until the owners of those properties decide to develop their ground. However, at some future day when homes are built in this area, a collector road will be needed. The current Phase I of SBD bridges a current and future need in the most cost-effective way. It saves the City money to build this now when the road is in need of attention rather than to repair in place and then expand into a collector in the future. If the City were to sit back and the area were to develop without a collector planned, then some future local road would eventually become a collector even though homes would front the street, which isn’t as safe and will certainly frustrate the owners of those future homes. By planning for a collector, the City is able to protect the residential feel of the future homes, return 475 East to a local road, and not repeat the actions that turned local roads into collectors in other areas of the community (e.g. Deer Run and 1900 East).
It is likely that others outside of South Weber will use the road. However, the building of a collector road is not what “generates” the traffic. The traffic is dependent on traffic generators, like housing and commercial destinations, the proximity of those generators to the road, and the type of road (e.g. local, collector, arterial). The Horrocks Engineers study actually shows a decrease in traffic volume at the I-84 connection by about 3,000 trips per day with SBD connected to Layton City versus no connection. The numbers suggest that the connection will primarily serve South Weber City residents. A supplemental study could be performed to look more specifically at the impact of a connection to Layton City.
As was discussed during the City Council meeting on September 24, 2019, the median was created as a compromise between current and future traffic patterns. Initially, there was no median, just a “sweeping T” intersection with 475 East. The island was created when the City Council wanted to allow for a “free right” so cars traveling southbound could continue onto 475 East without having to go through the intersection.
Discussion also included the idea of constructing the current design in the future and re-striping the intersection as it existed before the construction. The Council decided against that to save money in the long run by constructing the island now while crews are out there working and not incurring the costs of a second project in the future.
The total project cost for Phase I is $2,456,382.33.
The total revenue anticipated for the project is $2,835,589.84 and is broken down as follows:
- Development Proportional Share of Costs: $677,000.00
- South Weber Irrigation Company 50% Cost Share of Irrigation Line: $141,871.78
- Riverside Place Additional Share: $63,325.00
- Prop 1 Grant: $240,000.00
- Impact Fee Eligible: $1,687,593.07
- Future Lot Laterals: $25,800.00
Looking at the total cost and total revenue, it would seem the City is making just under $400,000. That isn’t the case; it would not become profit. Impact Fee Eligible means the City can use designated impact fees to pay up to the amount spent for the utilities and roadway portions that are eligible. The City is receiving enough revenue from other sources that we won’t have to use all the impact fee money we could have used on this project and that money will be available to use on other eligible projects.