According to updates from the Emigration Canyon Project Team, Emigration Canyon will now remain open to cyclists through July 5, 2020, with heavy construction to start on July 6.
By reworking the repair schedule to focus first on soft-spot repairs (repairs of the underlying road bed), the paving company was able to postpone the closure. Additionally, the canyon will be repaved by mid-September.
In a blow to safety for cyclists and pedestrians, Emigration Township and Mayor Smolka seem unwilling to change the default vehicle travel lane width in the canyon from 12′ to 11′ or even 10′ lanes. Narrower vehicle travel lanes slow traffic down, and are safer for pedestrians, wildlife, cyclists, and vehicles for multiple reasons. Primarily, slower speeds result in lower average speeds, and thus the severity of automobile crashes are minimized. Additionally, and especially in Emigration Canyon, a narrower vehicle lane would result in wider bike lanes and/or shoulders for cyclists to ride on, and for pedestrians and residents of the canyon to walk on. According to Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City Rules, 12′ lanes accomodate traffic speeds up to 70 mph, while 10′ lanes accomodate traffic up to 45 mph.
The Emigration Township statement regarding the new construction schedule is below:
The contractor, Black Forest Paving, has suggested a change to the project schedule and sequencing of work to save both time and money on the contract. Rather than performing soft spot repairs (places where the pavement and sub-material must be completely removed and re-installed, essentially reconstructing sections of the roadway) prior to asphalt removal (milling), they will proceed with asphalt removal to more quickly and accurately identify soft spots and conduct repairs as they go.
As a result, they will begin major asphalt work July 6, and will keep the canyon open to recreational cyclists until that date. This will allow recreational users of Emigration Canyon full access over the 4th of July holiday.
The contractor has assured us that with this new accelerated schedule, they will still be able to complete all of the paving by mid-to-late September.
Update for Cyclists:
Asphalt removal will begin on July 6. Crews will remove asphalt in one-mile sections, as they work their way up the canyon (see “Upcoming Work Activities” heading below for more details). Until paving begins, there will be progressively more segments of the road that will be in a milled state.
However, once new pavement is down, crews may be able to begin striping in segments before the canyon has been entirely repaved – therefore, we may be able to open up the lower sections of the canyon to recreational cyclists earlier than expected. We will continue to provide updated information about this option as the project progresses to that point.
Upcoming Work Activities:
This week, crews are performing minor work activities along the corridor, such as prepping to pour concrete for the new curb and gutter near the intersection of Maryfield Drive and Emigration Canyon Road, and lowering utilities in the roadway to prepare for the removal of asphalt. In observance of the 4th of July holiday, no work will take place from July 3-5.
Beginning July 6, major asphalt work will begin. Crews plan to begin at the Emigration Township line on the west end of the project, by removing asphalt in the eastbound lane. They will move eastbound for about a mile at a time, then flip and remove asphalt in the westbound lane – in a racetrack configuration. Asphalt removal is planned to take about two weeks to complete.
Beginning July 6, there will be some gas line work taking place, near the turn-off to Pinecrest, requiring trenches in the roadway. This activity is unrelated to our project but will take place concurrently.
*Schedule is subject to change due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
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In an effort to preserve the pavement in Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake County and Emigration Canyon Metro Township will rehabilitate the asphalt on Emigration Canyon Road, from the Emigration Township line on the west to SR-65 on the east. This project is expected to continue through mid-September 2020.
This rehabilitation project will also include some drainage improvements and new striping for bike lanes, where existing roadway width allows, to improve safety in the canyon. Moderate delays are expected so motorists are advised to plan their travel times accordingly. If an alternate route is available for your destination, please plan to take it and help reduce congestion through the work zone.