SLC working to bridge the east-west divide over I-15

Apr 23, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm

Vehicles travel on I-15, traffic fatalities in utah have decreased...

Vehicles travel on I-15 in Salt Lake City on June 16. (Kristin Murphy/ Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Stand in front of the Delta Center on 300 West in Salt Lake City, and the east-west divide becomes immediately apparent: Salt Lake City roads provide just a few places where you can get from one side of I-15 to the other. 

Transportation officials in Salt Lake City briefed city council members earlier this month on a variety of options aimed at bridging the east-west divide in SLC

Divide between east and west in SLC

SLC Transportation Director Jon Larsen said some parts of the “Connect SLC” plan are already in place. That includes the pedestrian bridge that crosses train tracks at 300 North, near West High School. 

“Particularly, [it benefits] students who no longer have to choose to be late to school or take risks trying to squeeze between cars of a stopped train,” Larsen said Tuesday. 

Watch: SLC council members learn about options for east-west transportation divide 

Another project being talked about is a planned 400 South viaduct trail. Larsen said that one-third of SLC residents now live on the west side of I-15, and that the area accounts for a majority, more than 75%, of crashes involving fatalities.

According to Larsen, the problem goes back decades, even before the city approved its last transportation plan in the mid-1990s.  

“I-15 cut off a lot of streets that used to connect and made it harder to connect new streets,” Larsen said. “You have the freight rail lines, the Union-Pacific lines that regularly will stop because of the switchyards.” 

Burying the rail lines is one option. However, Larsen said it comes with an estimated price tag of $6 billion. Also on the table: putting I-15 and the rail lines underneath the city, or creating more east-west connection points on surface streets.

Another option would include retooling I-15 interchanges. 

What happens next 

City council members will debate all of the options further, with a plan to vote on adoption in the near future. The next council meeting will take place on May 7. 

Members of the public can weigh in before then by emailing the city council or calling 801-535-7654.

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SLC working to bridge the east-west divide over I-15