(KCPW News) Traffic congestion in the booming communities on the west side of Utah Lake has spurred a proposal for a toll bridge. Reed Price, Executive Director of the Utah Lake Commission, says growth in the region is expected to continue, and at some point, a bridge will be needed.
“Ten years ago, before Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain even existed, no one ever thought that it would grow, but it did,” Price says. “And no plans were made for accommodating that traffic impact. And that’s why there’s the congestion there is today.”
The proposal under consideration now would be a privately-owned toll bridge from Orem to Saratoga Springs. Price says some are questioning the alignment of the bridge, proposing it extend to Provo instead. Others question whether it should be a toll bridge, or a free, state-funded thoroughfare.
The Utah Crossing proposal is moving forward after state lawmakers pulled funding for a $3 million environmental study on congestion in the region. The study would have looked at whether there is a need for such a bridge, and what the best alignment would be. Price says policymakers are pleased to see the project get picked up by the private sector.
“Now that a private individual has come forward, the lawmakers and UDOT as well are excited about the concept of having the private sector step in to take care of what they see as a legitimate need,” Price says.
The Utah Lake Commission will hold an open house tonight in Provo to gather public input on the toll-bridge proposal. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Utah County Health and Justice Building.