LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – The site for a new Latter-day Saint temple in Layton has been chosen, sparking speculation about how the structure will impact the local economy and traffic patterns.
Utah currently has 17 operating temples, built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For Latter-day Saint faithful, temples are considered “the house of the Lord,” and the holiest places on earth. Currently, there are close to 200 operating Latter-day Saint temples in the world, with more announced.
For Becky Wilson, who lives right across the street from the Layton temple’s announced site on the corner of Oak Hills Drive and Rosewood Lane, the temple will bring spiritual benefits.
“The spirit that it will bring into the area…the strength and the peace and the beauty,” she said.
But many are concerned about heavier traffic in an already congested area. The temple is slated to bring more visitors to Layton, and there are whisperings about possible road expansions near the temple site. Currently, UDOT is expanding Highway 89, which runs close to where the temple will be built. Neighbors said the area near Gentile Street and Oak Hills Drive is heavily congested during rush hour – and adding a beautiful landmark to the area may make traffic busier.
“The traffic is already pretty busy here,” said Wilson. “If it [gets heavier], we will deal with it. Small price to pay,” said the longtime Latter-day Saint.
Wilson said her neighbors were very excited about how the temple could potentially raise their property value, as is often the case when a new temple is constructed.
Vic Saunders, a spokesperson for UDOT Region One, said at this point officials with UDOT believe the new interchange at Oak Hills Drive and a soon-to-be expanded Highway 89 will likely be sufficient to address growing traffic needs. Saunders also told ABC4 News UDOT will monitor traffic numbers in the area and make capacity improvements as they are required, as it does with any roadway.
Former Layton City Mayor-turned Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson said the new temple will bring both spiritual and economic growth to the area.
“Traffic is a problem that comes with growth,” he told ABC4 News. “[A temple] is one of those key elements that brings people to your town…not only do they come to utilize the temple according to the faith…but it also brings people who just want to see it. “
Stevenson acknowledged increased traffic will likely be a problem officials will have to address as the temple is constructed.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not yet released renderings of the Layton temple. It was announced in April 2018.
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