May 23rd, 2012

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

A newly completed capacity project will provide better north-south mobility for road users in Utah County.

“When you only have three north-south corridors in the county, it’s a central piece,” said UDOT Region Three Director Shane Marshall at a celebration of the project’s completion.

Geneva Road is one of three major north-south corridors in the area, which made the road widening project a priority for UDOT and Utah County officials. “When you only have three north-south corridors in the county, it’s a central piece,” said UDOT Region Three Director Shane Marshall at a celebration of the project’s completion sponsored by Kiewit Western Co. Utah County provided some funding for the project, which along with other funding, allowed UDOT to build sooner than expected.

Utah State Representative Brad Daw praised UDOT and the contractor for building the road quickly while maintaining a high quality project. “UDOT knows how to get the most road for the dollar,” he said. The project was bid as a Design-build contract, which allows construction and design processes to take place simultaneously. The advantages of this method are speed of completion and low cost. Finding the balance point with Design Build requires an open relationship with the contractor to achieve a best value project.

The new pedestrian-friendly five lane facility between University Parkway and 1600 North in Orem can now provide a needed alternate route for the duration of the I-15 CORE project, scheduled for completion in December 2012; three nearby interchanges will require closures between now and the end of the project. Located just west of I-15, Geneva Road has good connectivity to the freeway to allow road users to get around the interchange closures.

Another benefit of the project is the new bridge that carries Geneva Road over Union Pacific and Frontrunner rail lines at 400 South. Before the bridge was built, traffic could be backed up several minutes many times a day waiting for a train to pass.Commissioner Larry Ellertson from Utah County pointed out the advantage at the celebration. “Doesn’t it look great to see those cars continue to move across that rail road?”

Building and designing the project took expertise and careful partnering. “For an urban facility, it was challenging,” said Lead Designer Russell Clark with Parsons Corporation. The bridge at 400 South required a high skew. Maintenance of traffic was also tricky – the design accounted for all traffic movements that were in existence before the bridge was built.

The location is a “utility corridor,” according to Clark and had a high number of conflicts for a project of its size. Over 8 hundred utility conflicts were identified and moved or protected in place.

The soils in the area presented a geo-technical challenge as well. Over two-thousand telephone poles were hammered into the ground to provide soil stability and support for the bridge, and geo-membrane was used extensively.

After the I-15 CORE project concludes, the road will continue to support future mobility and economic vitality. Major growth in the area includes an extension of the UVU campus and an 18-hundred acre commercial and residential development. Daw said that the project is an example of how new roads help business and residential developments flourish. “It just helps everyone in the community.”

Click to see a slide show of the road in the Provo Daily Herald.

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