Transportation projects, including multiuse trails, submitted for funding considerationNov 01, 2022 07:06PM ● By Cassie Goff
If funding is acquired, Cottonwood Heights could install sidewalks along Wasatch Boulevard east of the high-T intersection. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
Every year, a variety of projects are funded by Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC)’s programs. A call for Letter of Intent submissions is announced for municipalities, communities and partners during late summer/early autumn. The proposed projects are then distributed to members of the Councils of Governments (CoGs) and judged through a rigorous merit-based process involving qualitative analysis.
The City of Cottonwood Heights proposes numerous transportation projects each year in hopes of receiving potential funding. In prior years, the city’s proposals for a HAWK crosswalk and the Bengal Boulevard roundabout were approved for funding. (The roundabout was awarded $2.3 million.)
Cottonwood Heights submits project proposals in four categories set by the Wasatch Front Regional Council. Those categories are: Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation for Air Quality (CMAQ), Transportation Alternative Program (TAP), and Carbon Reduction Program (CRP).
STP funds projects for active transportation, transit capital improvements, and on federal-aid eligible highways. CMAQ funds are awarded to projects that improve air quality. TAP funds the construction and planning of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. CRP funds transportation projects that reduce on-road carbon dioxide emissions.
On Sept. 20, Public Works Director Matt Shipp highlighted a handful of potential city projects that would meet the qualifications to be considered for funding. He asked the city council for guidance on which projects they would support being submitted for consideration. Since the WFRC splits $5 million for transportation projects between all of the cities within Salt Lake proper, he stressed the need to be strategic.
The potential project that received the most enthusiastic council support was a protected cycle track trail along Fort Union Boulevard, covering the stretch of the boulevard running from Union Park Avenue to 1300 East.
“This piece of road is part of the Mid-Valley Transportation plan which stretches all of Fort Union,” Shipp said, highlighting more potential to receive funding.
If funded, the project would include a protected cycle track, a 10-foot multiuse trail on the north and south sides of the road, a separate grade from the road, and intersection improvements for the Union Park Avenue and Fort Union Boulevard intersection.
“Big kudos to (Senior Planner) Andy Hulka for this one,” Shipp said.
Another potential project involving a protected cycle track trail was supported by the council to be submitted for funding as well. This protected cycle trail would run along Highland Drive between Fort Union Boulevard and Bengal Boulevard.
“We can work with the existing trails and make a bigger sidewalk,” Shipp said.
This potential project would include a 10-foot multiuse protected trail on the east side of Highland Drive to provide additional safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. It would also increase pedestrian safety for the students attending Brighton High School.
“I watch students walking along that road and it doesn’t look that safe,” said Councilmember Shawn Newell expressing his support.
The last potential project the city council supported, with requested modifications, was the Wasatch Boulevard Operations Project. Sidewalks would be added along the east side of Wasatch Boulevard, beginning at the high-T intersection were north Little Cottonwood Road begins until the city’s boundary on Wasatch Boulevard.
In addition, a missing section of sidewalk along the west side of the boulevard would be constructed. Bicycle lanes would be provided on both sides of the roads while maintaining the three existing vehicle lanes.
For any project that is approved for funding by the WFRC, Cottonwood Heights has pay for an environmental study and preliminary project costs.
“We have to do preliminary engineering, which is anywhere from 20% to 30% of the engineering design, and that comes out of the city pocket,” Shipp said.
Then, WFRC pays for 93.2% of the total project costs (as the city provides a 6.7% match). These[LL1] costs include construction engineering, UDOT oversight and design engineering, contingency, and any land acquisition that may be needed.