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I-15 gridlock prompts search for solutions at Point of the Mountain

Weekend travelers join the traffic on I-15 near Point of the Mountain near Draper Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

DRAPER, Utah —¬†Traffic jams on I-15 near Point of the Mountain happen practically every day.¬† In some cases, it’s construction delays. But you can also blame car accidents and population growth for all that gridlock.

According to crash data from the Utah Department of Public Safety, there have been 474 vehicle crashes in the area from January to mid-October 2019.

Analyzing the data

KSL NewsRadio specifically wanted to know how many crashes there have been between the Bangerter Highway exit in Salt Lake County and the Lehi exit in Utah County. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street reviewed traffic accident reports back to 2016 to see if the construction in the area could be the main culprit.

Turns out, it’s not.

“I went back and looked at 2016 to 2019,” said Street. “Going back, we actually had the same amount in 2016 before the construction started. That number went down in 2017 and it went down even further before the construction started in 2018.”

Distracted driving, following too closely, more and more cars on the road all contributed to the hundreds of crashes. And the future isn’t looking any less congested.

In 2017, The Kem C. Gardner Institute published a report that predicted there will be an additional 700,000 households created in Salt Lake and Utah Counties over the next 50 years.

Gridlock solutions: more mass transit?

Beginning Thursday, and spanning into next year, the Utah Transit Authority will hold open houses for residents to pitch solutions to gridlock at Point of the Mountain.

More light rail? More buses? Free passes to increase mass transit ridership? Whatever your pitch, UTA wants to hear it.

Laura Hanson, Director of Planning for UTA joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic show.

“This project that we’re working on right now is really looking at the entire area and exploring different ways we can move people through this area in high capacity,” she said.

“It could be more transit, it could be a train, it could be more bus service.”

One KSL NewsRadio listener called on UTA to expand TRAX light rail lines into Utah County. Hanson didn’t commit but suggested that it may be a viable idea. Another listener called on Utah employers to move away from requiring seat time at the office in favor of more work-from-home opportunities to take more cars off the roads.

If you’d like to voice your opinion, the first open house will be held Thursday, November 14, 4:30 pm – 7 pm at American Preparatory Academy at 11938 Lone Peak Parkway in Draper.