Road failure a concern as Lehi continues to rapidly develop

LEHI, Utah -- Lehi City said their roads could be headed for failure if they don't come up with a plan to handle future traffic numbers, amid a boom of business and neighborhood development.

It's a concern to the point that the city said they're asking developers to hold off on submitting new proposals.

Right now, drivers deal with traffic in Lehi daily during rush hour. Cars will clog I-15 around Point of the Mountain, down to the exits for Timpanogos Highway and 2100 North.

Seth Bailey, who said he drives to Lehi from South Jordan a couple times a week, said it's always backed up.

"Try to get off, off the off-ramp usually in both directions is kind of a disaster," he said.

Terry Ferrell, who lives in Alpine and works in Lehi, said he's started to take back roads instead.

"It takes a long time to get where you got to get," he said. "I try not to take those roads."

Both said they've seen the explosive development in the area, as new businesses and neighborhoods spring up in north Lehi.

"There is no question right now, it is pretty bad," said Lehi City Mayor Mark Johnson.

He said large planning groups, including the Point of the Mountain Commission, Wasatch Regional Council and Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), have told the city that the future transportation system in that area will see problems if they don't address it.

The city hired traffic engineers to conduct a study on the roads in north Lehi, and while Johnson said the review isn't complete, they already have some idea how things are looking.

"We realize the numbers are concerning," Johnson said.

While UDOT construction along I-15 including a brand new overpass is underway to help relieve congestion, Johnson said as they project numbers well out into the years 2025, they're seeing that traffic issues could redevelop.

"It's a difficult situation because the level of service of many of those roads will fall to a level of service 'F,'" Johnson explained. "It's similar to a high school grade, that means failure."

To stop the roads from failing, the city will need to look at road projects, and Johnson said that includes areas from the point of the Mountain down to 2100 North, and parts of Timpanogos Highway.

He said they'll look at another outlet for Thanksgiving Point.

"Looking at any improvements we can, to remove some of the traffic off the major corridors and give them alternative routes," he said.

They'll also talk with developers to make sure their traffic projections match up with the city's, as future plans in Lehi take shape.

"We are asking the developers to hold off with submittals right now until we can start mutually working on the area plans and make sure we get our arms wrapped around this situation," he said.

Johnson said the city's not applying a moratorium on development, though he said it's been brought up.

He expressed that with mutual planning, he was confident they could take care of the issues.

The traffic study isn't quite finished yet, and Johnson said they're still waiting on a housing study so they can apply the future housing model into the new traffic numbers.