July 24th, 2012

24TH STREET EA

Optimize Mobility, Strengthen the Economy, by Catherine Higgins.

An environmental study is looking at ways to improve mobility in downtown Ogden. 

 Environmental Assessment currently underway identifies environmental impacts that may result from potential improvements to I-15 at 24th Street.

UDOT is asking stakeholders to get involved by learning about the project and commenting on an Environmental Assessment that identifies the environmental impacts that may result from potential improvements to I-15 at 24th Street. The EA study area is bounded by the West Ogden Community to the east, 31st Street to the south, 1900 West to the west, and 21st Street to the north.

UDOT is studying impacts to the freeway and to nearby arterial streets that could result from improvements to the Midland Drive / 2550 South intersection, the 24th Street Interchange and the area within the Ogden City Industrial Park. UDOT Project Manager Bret Slater believes that the potential improvements will have a positive impact on freeway flow, safety and mobility on arterial streets.

The study team has carefully evaluated potential improvements. “Every possible alternative has been scrutinized, analyzed and looked at,” says Slater. He wants the public get informed about the alternatives and to provide comments.

Stakeholders who comment “help us through the environmental process,” says Slater. “ We need folks to tell us what they think” about potential impacts. Engineers can conduct traffic studies and design roads and structures, but local residents may have a knowledge and understanding of the local area that the project team lacks, he explains.

The study team is working with area property and business owners, government leaders and federal and state agencies to identify all potential areas of concern before a final decision is made. Elisa Albury, UDOT Environmental Lead on the project has recently helped plan and conduct an open house to inform stakeholders about the EA. Albury says the open house event provided “a status report” to inform stakeholders.

To comment on the EA, visit the study website.

Back Top

Responses to “24TH STREET EA”

  1. So did these improvements “have a positive impact on freeway flow, safety and mobility on arterial streets” or is it too early to tell? What decisions had to be changed or ditched following the communities feedback?

  2. How much is the total cost to improve mobility in downtown Ogden?

  3. Please see a response from NEPA Project Manager Chuck Easton below.

    The improvements considered under the Action Alternative would have a positive impact on freeway flow, and safety and mobility on surface streets. According to comprehensive traffic modeling performed on the 21st Street, 24th Street, and 31st Street Interchanges, traffic flow on I-15 and the connecting streets would fail dramatically by the year 2030. For example, if no improvements are made, traffic proceeding west on 24th Street to I-15 during peak hours would back up through the West Ogden Community over the viaduct, and into downtown Ogden, a distance of over 1.5 miles. Similar congestion would occur on 21st and 31st Streets.

    With the improvements at 24th Street, we see traffic flowing at acceptable standards at all three interchanges as far as the year 2040. Keep in mind that the surface street improvements suggested in the EA would have to be constructed to see these improvements.

    Mobility would improve on surface streets, first with the removal of the railroad tracks at the 24th Street interchange, and with the reconfiguration of the 2550 South, Midland Drive, Pennsylvania Avenue, and 24th Street intersection west of I-15. Our traffic model projects normal and acceptable traffic flow at this intersection. The new roadway proposed southwest of the intersection is required to take the projected high levels of traffic from West Haven to 24th Street, without creating significant congestion on 2550 South, Midland Drive, and 31st Street.

    Finally, safety is substantially improved with removal of the railroad tracks at I-15. This reduces automobile/railroad conflicts, which are creating the greatest safety hazards in the project area. Pedestrian safety is also a significant concern. Currently, pedestrians (mainly from the Northern Utah Community Correctional Center) crawl under or between railroad cars on 24th Street to get to their destinations. Suggested improvements would eliminate that possibility. Also, uniform shoulders, curb, gutter, and sidewalk are proposed throughout the project area, which would provide pedestrians the much needed separation from traffic.

    Community members concerns centered on their residential area in the West Ogden Community. With the exception of about 800 feet of 24th Street east of the interchange, the project does not propose to make any changes to roadways in the West Ogden Community. Future projects may affect this community, but not the current one. Business owners west of the interchange have been highly interested in impacts to their property. These impacts are estimates with about 30% accuracy, and it is a little early to take any action on those impacts. As a result, the design of the Action Alternative did not change in response to community members concerns. Some environmental concerns, such as historic properties protected by Section 4(f) of the DOT Act have had an influence on the project design. In some cases, we have constrained the width of the proposed improvements, or shifted the new roadway alignment to avoid significant impacts to historic properties.

    Thank you for your interest in the project.

  4. The following response was provided by NEPA Project Manager Chuck Easton.

    The total cost to improve mobility in downtown Ogden is a tough question to answer, because it involves the combination of numerous roadway improvement projects, not just improvements to the I-15 Interchange at 24th Street. It also can involve projects that are not directly associated with downtown Ogden.

    Currently, Ogden City only has funding to study the potential environmental, economic, property, and traffic impacts related to the I-15 interchange and surrounding streets. The cost to study all the effects of this proposed project, including about 30% engineering design, totals about $1.5 million.

    Other steps in this proposed project include negotiation with local and national railways and other stakeholders, full engineering design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction. Completion of all improvements proposed for the I-15 Interchange at 24th Street, including construction total about $75 million.

    Ogden City at some future date, as funding becomes available would like to continue improvements on 24th Street over the viaduct and into downtown Ogden. Those improvements could total more than $150 million depending on the improvements proposed. Please note that this is a very broad estimate, as there are substantial unknowns (such as environmental, railway, property impacts, and construction and materials costs). Widening/reconstructing the 24th Street viaduct over the Weber River, the UPRR, and Frontrunner alone would bear the majority of that cost.

    Improving mobility in downtown Ogden is in the city’s long term plan, and completion of both the 24th Street Interchange, and roadway and viaduct projects could take as long as 10 years, possibly more, depending on available funding.

    Other projects on I-15 and intersection or signalization improvements are currently under construction, or will be required throughout Ogden in the next 5 years. These can effect the downtown area. The combined costs of these projects exceeds $300 million (estimated with combined federal, state, and municipal budgets). Keep in mind that other areas outside of downtown Ogden are also benefited by these projects.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Back Top