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SR92 Gets Redesign, New Name Near Mount Timpanogos

Thu December 15, 2011 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

When the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) officially opens the completed State Route 92 reconstruction project in spring 2012, the roadway will not only have five brand new lanes plus two brand new commuter lanes, it also will have a brand new name: Timpanogos Highway. Though the road’s official designation will always be State Route 92, Timpanogos Highway is now the road’s secondary name, and appears on road signs that were created as part of the SR 92 reconstruction project.

The new name was selected by a panel of judges from 423 nominations that were submitted by visitors to UDOT’s SR 92 project Website. The judging panel consisted of nine community leaders, including mayors, members of the state House of Representatives, a member of the state Transportation Commission and a UDOT representative.

The name “Timpanogos” comes from the local landmarks Mount Timpanogos — the second highest mountain in Utah’s Wasatch Range, and the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, also in the Wasatch Range.

Timpanogos Highway (SR 92) is the chief east/west connector for several communities in northeastern Utah County, including north Lehi, Highland, Cedar Hills and Alpine. It also provides access to recreational destinations in American Fork Canyon and the Alpine Loop. With recent and projected residential and commercial development in northern Utah County, use of Timpanogos Highway is increasing. Additional improvements were needed along the corridor to accommodate more traffic.

Under the environmental assessment, two things became clear. First, it was easy to see how important Timpanogos Highway is to the transportation infrastructure of northern Utah County. Second, it was clear that a significant number of users were either going to or returning from I-15.

UDOT engineers considered ways to provide freeway-type access without incurring freeway-type public impacts. Eventually they came up with the “commuter lane” concept, in which a separate, distinct roadway would be built adjacent to the expanded Timpanogos Highway arterial (and within the environmentally approved footprint). These lanes consist of one lane in each direction that links more directly to I-15. They are constructed so that they passed over or under each Timpanogos Highway intersection, so those commuting to or from I-15 can do so more quickly, without having to stop at signalized intersections.

In April 2009, the contract was awarded to a joint venture of Flatiron Construction (Denver, Colo.) and Harper Construction (now Harper-Kilgore) of Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to designing the project and overseeing all aspects of construction, the duo will, themselves, conduct all utility work, excavation, grading, paving and bridge work.

Salt Lake City-based subcontractors include Hunt Electric for lighting and signals; Harper Precast, providing precast barriers, and ACE Landscaping. Fibertel Inc. of Springville is performing fiber relocations; Altaview Inc., headquartered in Sandy, is the concrete supplier, and McNeil Construction Co. of West Jordan is in charge of concrete paving.

As part of the Timpanogos Highway project, UDOT is reconfiguring the Highland/Alpine I-15 interchange into a new type of interchange with Timpanogos Highway. The Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) will greatly improve mobility and safety in the area, according to UDOT. The DDI reconfiguration was completed in early December 2011.

The DDI concept was born in Europe, and was only recently brought to American roadways. The first American DDI was opened in 2009 in Springfield, Mo., and on Aug. 23, 2010, the DDI at American Fork Main Street in Utah was opened, making it the first DDI built from the ground up in the United States, according to the UDOT Web site

The DDI looks different than a traditional freeway interchange because there are cross points where the traffic lanes cross over to the left side of the interchange. This may seem a little confusing at first, but these cross points are actually the reason why the DDI functions so smoothly, because they allow for more open traffic flow between the freeway and the interchange.

The standards of safety and efficiency have been at the forefront of the development of the Timpanogos Highway DDI. From the medians and barriers, the landscaping and aesthetic treatments to the pavement marking and signs, everything about the reconfigured interchange has been designed to ensure that navigation is seamless, intuitive and safe. Geneva Rock of Orem, Utah, was contracted for the DDI construction and asphalt.

“For the interchange, we used existing infrastructure in order to increase capacity and reduce stopping time without having to do a complete rebuild. This was done at one-fifth the cost of a typical interchange overhaul,” explained Heather Barnum, UDOT’s spokesperson of the Timpanogos Highway Project.

All in all, the project encompasses 6 mi. (9.6 km) of a five-lane arterial, a 5-mi. (8 km) eastbound/westbound commuter lane, and seven bridges.

During the course of the project, crews uncovered an unusually large deposit of hard rock. This rock wasn’t able to be excavated using traditional methods and was eventually blasted into smaller pieces and removed. Fortunately, the majority of this shot-rock material was reused as rip-rap throughout the project.

The original contract amount was $139 million. However, with change orders and the addition of scope like the DDI, the project amount is now $150 million. It is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.

This corridor is used by residents from five surrounding cities as an east-west connection to I-15, as well as recreational travel to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, American Fork Canyon and destination shopping like Cabela’s.

“UDOT places high priority on keeping the public as little inconvenienced as possible during construction and has been working to keep the businesses and residents informed of construction activities throughout the project,” noted Barnum.

Since the project construction began in September 2009, drivers have experienced a typical 15-minute construction delay that varies occasionally based on the level of activity. Residents have been patient and have made adjustments in their travel patterns. The project has experienced some unique challenges that have unfortunately pushed construction beyond the projected completion date of Oct. 20, 2011. The contractor is working to complete the main line five lanes by the first part of 2012 and the commuter lanes by spring 2012.

More information and up-to-date videos can be found at CEG

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