When complete, the $163 million project will add 10 mi. of express lanes between the Layton Parkway interchange in Layton and the I-84 interchange in Riverdale, just outside of Ogden.
Work on the largest design-bid-build project ever let by the state of Utah has begun. When complete, the $163 million project will add 10 mi. of express lanes between the Layton Parkway interchange in Layton and the I-84 interchange in Riverdale, just outside of Ogden.
"This will complete about 86 miles of express lanes also known in other places as HOV or carpool lanes," said Vic Saunders, spokesman for region one of the Utah Department of Transportation. "It will be the longest stretch of continuous HOV anywhere in the United States."
UDOT has completed other projects that were bigger, but not in the manner of this contract, Saunders said.
"In design-bid-build projects, the state designs, the contractors bid on it and they build it. With design-build, we have the project, we bid it out and the contractor designs and builds with the budget we've given them. In that case they are free to make all kinds of changes as they go. This project was contracted the traditional way we do things."
UDOT implemented the project to help alleviate congestion on the section of I-15 that has not been rebuilt since the original construction. Construction crews for Ralph L. Wadsworth, a division of the Texas headquartered Sterling Construction, are doing much of the work at night or off-peak hours.
One advantage for workers and drivers is that the interstate is already fairly wide. Traffic will be moved to the right on paved shoulders while construction on the express lanes, one in each direction, is completed in the median.
"There will be things such as crossovers that will have an impact on traffic during peak times," Saunders said. "We're watching very closely to make sure we keep traffic moving. We also recommend motorists use public transit or try other routes in order to keep the interstate from getting packed in.
The contractor expects to have all of the lanes in their original and new configurations by the end of the year.
"It's pretty aggressive, but because most of the work is going on in the middle of the interstate, there is no traffic on it anyway," Saunders said. "They are able to get in there and go for it."
The express lanes will be open to vehicles with multiple passengers, single users who buy special permits and vehicles using alternate fuel sources, such as propane, natural gas or electricity.
The project also calls for the replacement of one bridge and the resurfacing of another. That work is slated for next year.
While the new express lanes are expected to ease congestion, the project is something of a temporary measure until a larger project gets under way.
"Down the road, in six or seven years there is on the horizon a complete reconstruction of I-15 from Salt Lake to Odgen," Saunders said. "A lot of this area will be completely rebuilt. That's in the future. This is a stopgap to get the express lanes installed to allow us to make efficient use of the infrastructure we have, to head off congestion until this major project happens in the future. That project is not funded yet although there are all kinds of concept designs for that to be done eventually." CEG