White blocks along I-15 in Farmington are geofoam building blocks

Aug 8, 2023, 2:06 PM

Geofoam blocks are placed along a portion of the West Davis Highway Project. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRa...

Geofoam blocks are placed along a portion of the West Davis Highway Project. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

FARMINGTON, Utah —The framework of the West Davis Highway (SR-177) is looking more complete each day, with crews moving massive concrete columns and green metal beams into place over I-15 over the last several months.

But, over the last couple of weeks, drivers may have noticed large white blocks in UDOT’s work zone next to southbound I-15.

Believe it or not, the blocks are made of something a lot like Styrofoam.

“[It’s] not unlike what you see in your Igloo cooler … we call it geofoam,” said UDOT West Davis Project Director Rex Harris.

The blocks, each weighing about 200 pounds are shaping the future connecting ramp for drivers who will head southbound on the West Davis Highway onto southbound I-15 in Farmington.

Why geofoam?

Harris said they chose geofoam for this ramp since it sits right next to the railroad tracks.

Harris explained the Earth is “literally a big sponge that’s full of water … and when you put a lot of weight on it … it causes settlement.”

UDOT used lightweight concrete for the northbound connecting ramp which was built much earlier in the project construction. But, for the southbound ramp, too much weight could be bad news due to its proximity to the railroad tracks.

Harris said they’ve seen the weight of some concrete ramps cause the ground to condense by four feet.

“We can’t have four feet of settlement on the railroad tracks,” Harris said.

Geofoam is not new to Utah

This is not the first time UDOT has used geofoam for Utah roadways. The agency said they used it during the reconstruction of I-15 in Salt Lake County before the Winter Olympics in 2002.

UDOT also used geofoam on the 1100 South bridge over I-15 in Brigham City and the 5600 West bridge near 700 South in Salt Lake City.

Geofoam was first used on Norwegian roads in the 1970s. Harris said people could be driving over geofoam somewhere in the state and never know it was there.

Geofoam isn’t cheap, and because of that, it’s not UDOT’s go-to choice.  But Harris said they will use it in areas that absolutely need it, like this spot.

Another perk with geofoam is how quickly it goes up. Harris confirmed it only took crews about two weeks to start from the ground and shape an entire connecting ramp.

“They just stack the blocks on top of each other and they fit nicely … it goes up really quickly,” Harris said.

UDOT will next pour concrete around and on top of the geofoam to create the ramp people will eventually drive on.

When will the West Davis Highway be open for traffic?

The West Davis Highway will run 16 miles from Centerville to West Point, completely changing the commute for thousands of people living along that route.

UDOT’s goal is to alleviate growing congestion on I-15 north of Farmington.

The four-lane divided highway, similar to neighboring Legacy Parkway, and one of UDOT’s biggest undertakings, is scheduled to be fully completed by summer 2024.

But on Tuesday Harris announced that they hope to have the road open for drivers by the end of 2023.

“It’s great to see us be so close,” Harris said.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

KSL Traffic

One person died after being struck by a northbound Green Line TRAX train at 1700 South....

Emma Keddington

One person dead after being hit by a TRAX train, bus bridge in place

One person has died after a TRAX incident Monday night.

7 hours ago

Deer Creek Reservoir in Wasatch County pictured....

Emma Keddington

Utah Highway Patrol reports “serious” semitruck rollover at Deer Creek Reservoir

CHARLESTON, Wasatch County — One person is unaccounted for after a semitruck traveling southbound on SR-189 lost control and rolled over into Deer Creek Reservoir Monday night, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.  UHP’s Sgt. Cameron Roden said the semi “lost control and jackknifed… Hit the guard rail and went into Deer Creek Reservoir.”  He […]

8 hours ago

map of proposed Utah County Projects...

Adam Small

UDOT receives nearly $1.4 billion for Utah County freeway-related projects

Nearly $1.4 billion in funding has been approved by the state for multiple Utah County projects due to population growth.

19 hours ago

A woman was killed in a crash on state Route 201 just east of Bangerter Highway. Eastbound SR-201 w...

Eliza Pace, KSLTV.com

Woman killed in crash on state Route 201 while fixing a flat tire

Highway Patrol troopers say the driver of a Chevy Malibu was killed in a crash that closed the highway for until early Thursday afternoon.

5 days ago

cars bangerter highway shown, construction on 9800 south bangerter this weekend...

Eric Cabrera

UDOT to close Bangerter Highway at 9800 South for weekend

The construction on Bangerter at 9800 South will close six blocks of the highway in both directions.

6 days ago

(Utah Department of Transportation)...

Aimee Cobabe

Dozens of Utah bridges need repairs, prepare for summer closures

Transportation officials said this week that 62 bridges in Salt Lake County alone need attention because of winter wear and tear.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

White blocks along I-15 in Farmington are geofoam building blocks