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UDOT has 3-ideas to reduce congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A rider decsends during the Tour of Utah Prologue at Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Photo by Colter Peterson, Deseret News

SANDY, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) wants public input on three ideas to reduce traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

From February 2020.

The first option is for what UDOT spokesman John Gleason calls ‘enhanced bus service.’  This would have buses running up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon every 5-minutes.

Option two is the same as the first but would add a paved shoulder.  The extra space UDOT says would allow buses to move around cars if they were stopped or exceptionally slow.  Another use would be for pedestrians and bikers to use the shoulder in summer months.

The third choice is to build a gondola at the mouth of the canyon which would then run to both Snowbird and Alta ski resorts.

Along with the three suggestions from UDOT, there are some other supplemental ideas which could be incorporated into each choice.

“One idea is to build ‘snow sheds'” John Gleason said “these will allow avalanches to flow over the top of the sheds while traffic passes underneath the roof.”  

He says those sheds though would only be built in areas most prone to avalanches.

Gleason says another way to keep congestion at a minimum would be to widen Wasatch Blvd leading to the mouth of the canyon. 

Another plan would be to add ‘mobility hubs’ to the areas around the canyon. These ‘hubs’ would be park and ride stations away from Wasatch Blvd and would shuttle people to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon where people would then take a bus to the ski resorts.

UDOT is looking for the public to weigh in on what they think is the best idea to reduce canyon congestion.  People can choose their favorite from June 8th to July 10th on their website:  littlecottonwoodeis.udot.utah.gov.  

Gleason says, “If all goes to plan, UDOT could begin implementing one of these options by the end of 2021.”