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Draper Journal

13800 South construction to continue through summer

Mar 18, 2019 03:58PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

Construction on 13800 South has started with extensive widening of the East Jordan Canal bridge. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected] 

Drivers who use 13800 South have encountered altered lanes, construction cones and workers, large equipment and even intermittent lane closures. The street is undergoing a major widening project that started in late December and will continue into the summer months.

Draper City held an open house in December 2018 to notify area residents and property owners of the scheduled widening of 13800 South from 300 East to 980 East. The project was originally slated to take about one year with the end result being a median turn lane in addition to lanes going each direction with designated bike lanes, continuous sidewalks and new curb and gutter for drainage on both sides. The road will grow from 40 feet wide to 66 feet wide when the project is complete. 

Draper City coordinated efforts for utility improvements where needed with Rocky Mountain Power, South Valley Sewer and Water Pro so that once the new asphalt is laid, it shouldn’t have to be torn up again for quite some time.

Bill Knowles was hired by the city as community ombudsman for the project. 

“I am a liaison between the city’s project and the community, making sure everybody knows ahead of time what’s coming and getting information (including concerns and questions) from individuals in the community,” Knowles said. The city also reached out to affected property owners for right-of-way negotiations, property purchases and agreements, according to Knowles.

The first phase of the project was the widening of the East Jordan Canal bridge at approximately 450 East beginning in December. Cody Ekker Construction was hired for that job. 

“They have to widen the bridge in concert with what the rest of the street will be, so that was the first part of business to be done when the canal is usually dry. Beginning March 15 that canal becomes active again with irrigation water,” Knowles said. 

That portion was planned for completion in late February, weather permitting, but the crew experienced off-season presence of water in the canal, overflowing a dam put in place to allow concrete footings to be poured. Two large pumps were brought in to pull the unusual volume of water out in order to continue the work necessary, according to Knowles. But Knowles said that only slightly delayed that portion of the project.

Rich and Vanessa Page live on the northwest corner of Arrow Creek Drive, right where it intersects with 13800 South and the Jordan Canal. 

“Unfortunately, it has been a negative experience since it all started for us,” Vanessa said. “Sadly, we are the house that has turned into the equipment storage, parking lot, etc. This construction has literally been in our backyard, but also our side yard and front yard.” 

She said the crew first brought in a loud generator that ran continually and caused their kitchen floor to vibrate. When the Pages called to complain, the city offered that they could go to a hotel and send the city the bill, but Vanessa explained that wasn’t feasible with a dog at home, three kids who go to school and working parents. 

Vanessa noted that the crew did bring in a quieter generator after her husband complained, but there has also been damage to their lawn and their fence, neither of which the construction crew has communicated about with them. “We understand the benefits ahead for the road being larger, but with how poorly things have been handled we are not thrilled we have months ahead of this,” she said.

At a city council meeting just before the end of 2018, the council decided the project would be half of what was originally planned due to budget constraints. The new plan is to widen 13800 South from its intersection with 300 East up to and just past its intersection with Fort Street. 

“The project got cut in half relative to budget issues and costs that came in,” Knowles said. “Everything they showed extending to Fort Street will be what it was, but the rest of the work will be on hold. It might happen next year and it might not.” 

Construction from 300 East up to the Fort Street intersection will start mid to late March and extend through the summer, according to Knowles. 

“They will be allowing local traffic in and out of residences and access for residents will be guaranteed. We encourage people who don’t live off of 13800 South to use other routes. It’s going to be a point of aggravation for awhile, and if you don’t have to use it, you’re better off going another way,” he said. 

Bill Knowles can be reached at the project hotline (801) 580-2626 or [email protected] Interested persons can ask to be added to the construction updates email distribution list by contacting Knowles.