SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)– Salt Lake City leaders held their community listening session this evening to discuss Utah’s Department of Transportation proposal to widen I-15. The process is still a long way out, but leaders are hopeful to move the project forward.

The session was filled with community leaders, residents, and business owners all there to discuss plans for the expansion. For some, it may sound like a solution to Salt Lake’s growing traffic, but to others, it could cost them either their home or their livelihood.

Sen. Luz Escamilla and state Reps. Angela Romero and Sandra Hollins along with UDOT officials came together to meet with the public to map out the plan for the I-15 expansion and respond to concerns. The proposal is to expand along the Wasatch Front between Salt Lake City and Farmington. Escamilla was there to represent the legislative part of the process and help clarify the funding behind the project.

“The expansion is one of the ideas that is being thrown out there. There have been conversations also about maybe doing an underpass versus an overpass,” she said.

Residents across the community came out to hear the proposal and voice their concerns. Bill Coker who owns the popular Salt Lake restaurant Red Iguana showed up as part of a coalition of local businesses and organizations who will be negatively impacted if the expansion gets approved. Coker said they’re just trying to be heard. 

“The idea is to bring another voice to the table have a reasonable voice that can bring this bring this challenge to the people to understand the real the real impact of this so that to say that they’re not taking any homes is a half-truth at best,” the restaurant owner said.

Coker and others organized the coalition to bring awareness to those who will be affected. For some it’s their livelihood, for others, it’s their home. But for Coker and his wife, it may be one in the same. 

“Our home is on 700 West. We’re 40 feet from the embankment of the freeway now. Our businesses on West North Temple it’s about 150 feet from the overpass on Temple and both of them are at risk, despite what UDOT might say about the impact of it.”

UDOT’s Environmental Impact Statement is set to come out this fall. After that more planning and negotiations will take place.