UDOT and Gov. Cox announce plans for interconnecting trails throughout Utah

Oct 28, 2022, 7:30 PM

Interstate trails...

A walker and a cyclist utilize a trail as Carlos Braceras, Utah Department of Transportation executive director, joins Gov. Spencer Cox in announcing the vision for statewide trail systems at a press conference in Woods Cross on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

WOODS CROSS, Utah — Utah could someday have a system of interconnecting trails throughout the whole state. The one catch is you might not ever see it fully complete.

“This is not a cheap project,” Carlos Braceras the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Transportation says. “We’re going to work towards this and we may not be done in our lifetimes, because I believe as we start making these connections it’s going to grow.”

Braceras and Gov. Spencer Cox announced the project Friday morning in a press conference.

Gov. Cox says the plan is in its infantry, so they don’t know exactly how it’s going to work yet. Though, he does have a vision that it will work like the interstate.

“Back in the middle of the last century, when our nation took on this bold idea that we were going to connect all the states with an interstate highway system, … that’s exactly what happened. This is our interstate highway system,” Gov. Cox says. “This is our intrastate trail system. This bold idea that we, at some point in the future, will be able to get from anywhere in Utah to anywhere else without having to get on a roadway to accomplish that … To do so safely, and, again, in a way that brings people together.”

The trails will be accessible to all

The governor also says they’re focused on the accessibility of the trail.

“First of all, we have to connect … our lower-income communities,” he says. “These trails can’t just be accessible to people on the east side or people in the wealthier neighborhoods and that’s very important.”

Cox emphasized the importance that the trails will be able to be used by everyone.

“We know that active transportation is something that everyone in the state wants, so we need to make sure that there is physical access,” Gov. Cox says. “We also need to make sure that the trails are built in such a way that people of all abilities can get on them … That’s been really important to everything that we’re doing throughout the state.”

Gov. Cox says the interstate trails will have multiple benefits.

“We’re seeing … as the price of e-bikes come down, that people that normally would not be able to get on a bike and ride for very far distances now can,” he says. “This has a dual opportunity, of course, helping people of different abilities be able to access technology that gives them access to our trails, but also it’s going to have a huge opportunity for us to reduce our car usage.”

Related: UDOT seeks public feedback on future of Bangerter Highway

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UDOT and Gov. Cox announce plans for interconnecting trails throughout Utah