‘Frustrating’ and ‘dumb’: Freeway closure highlights drivers’ dependence on Interstate 15

LEHI (ABC4 News) – Utah Highway Patrol troopers briefly closed southbound Interstate 15 in Lehi  Monday morning because of a crash. This comes just two days after a tanker crash in the same area created a traffic nightmare.

It’s leading some drivers to wonder why there are not more north-south options connecting the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.

The double tanker containing butane overturned near Lehi Main Street around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, closing the Interstate in both directions for over 9 hours and paralyzing traffic.

“We’ve got surface streets that are just really thickly clogged with traffic,” Sgt. Brady Zaugg of the Utah Highway Patrol said Saturday. “We’ve got tempers running high.”

Delivery driver Aldo Lazo was caught in the middle of it, saying his trip from Kaysville to a pharmacy in Spanish Fork wound up taking all day. 
“To get there, took me like 4 hours and then to get back took me like 2 hours, 3 hours,” Lazo said. “It was frustrating. It was dumb.” 

The UHP suggested northbound drivers divert through Provo Canyon on Highway 189 then through Heber City and park City to I-80 and recommended southbound traffic go all the way to Tooele then south on Highway 73 both extremely long detours. Geoff DuPaix of the Utah Department of Transportation says because of the geography and topography of the area there just aren’t any convenient alternates to I-15.

“We’re looking at building additional options in the future,” DuPaix said. “So should something like this happen we’ll have more dispersal points to help disperse traffic around an incident when something like this happens.”

DuPaix cites the progress of the Technology Corridor Project that is widening I-15 and adding service roads and the southward extension of the Mountain View Corridor which will eventually reach 2100 North in Lehi but that’s still years away.

“We’re working toward a much better solution for the future,” DuPaix said. 
He recommends downloading the UDOT Traffic app on your phone for the latest information on road conditions and closures.

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