Utah’s I-15 corridor project clears environmental review

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Utah’s plans to build the Interstate 15 corridor in Utah County now can move forward, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, Aug. 26. Federal Highway Administration officials recently signed a Record of Decision (ROD) – a document representing the final clearance of the project’s exhaustive environmental review – giving the state clearance to begin right-of-way acquisition, design and construction.

The project, part of an 840-mile route connecting San Diego to Salt Lake City that was chosen last year as one of six “Corridors of the Future” by DOT, has long been a priority of the Federal Highway Administration and the Utah DOT. “This marks a major milestone for the region’s thousands of drivers anxious for relief from traffic tieups,” says Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

While the environmental review process for a project this size typically takes seven to eight years, the review for this project was completed in less than four, Peters says. The project’s current environmental review began with the publication of its notice of intent in the Federal Register in September 2004.

“The savings in time achieved on this project so far underscores the benefits of the president’s environmental streamlining process,” said FHWA Administrator Tom Madison. “The real beneficiaries of this improvement are the thousands of drivers who will see relief from traffic congestion sooner rather than later.”

The I-15 project, which includes widening and reconstruction of 43 miles of highway with 22 interchanges, extends north from the South Payson interchange in Utah County to the 123rd South interchange in Salt Lake County. A locally funded commuter rail project is already under way to complement the project.