UDOT Proposes Three Options To Ease Little Cottonwood Canyon Traffic

Jun 4, 2020, 5:15 PM | Updated: 10:41 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Imagine floating above the snarled traffic on a snow day as you’re heading up Little Cottonwood Canyon in a gondola.

What would be the longest gondola in the world is among three alternatives proposed by the Utah Department of Transportation to ease skier traffic in the winter in the popular canyon.

UDOT officials were eager for public input on the Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Statement.

One of the busiest ski days a dozen years ago is now an average winter day up in Little Cottonwood Canyon. As many as 7,000 cars head up this canyon on a busy ski day. The gondola, along with the other two options, which involve improved bus services, would cut traffic by 30%.

“More and more people are coming to the canyons. They’re coming to enjoy the ski resorts, and we want to make that possible,” said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

The department has conducted many studies and generated plenty of ideas over the years to improve transportation safety, reliability and mobility in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

UDOT believes each of these alternatives world significantly cut travel time and improve the experience for everyone.

“This is what Utah is famous for: the greatest snow on earth. We want to give people the opportunity to get up here and enjoy it, not be stuck in congestion,” said Gleason.

The first alternative is an enhanced bus service that would run 24 UTA buses as frequently as every five minutes, driving directly to each of the resorts.

The second idea is enhanced bus service in a dedicated shoulder lane.

“In the summer we could use it for pedestrians and for bicyclists,” Gleason said.

The most ambitious idea is a 35-person gondola that would take skiers and snowboarders from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon all the way to Snowbird and Alta, carrying 1,000 people an hour. It would be the longest gondola in the world: around eight miles long.

“It’s exciting. It’s daunting,” said Gleason. “A lot of people will have an opinion about it, and that’s what this whole process is about.”

If either of the busing alternatives is selected, UDOT would build several snow sheds to protect the road and the people driving on it.

“A snow shed is a concrete structure that is built over the road,” Gleason said. “It functions as a garage or a roof over the road so that if an avalanche happens the cars can pass underneath. ”

Mobility hubs, which are essentially large parking lots, would be built on Wasatch Boulevard to enable people to park and access each of those alternatives. 

UDOT also plans to widen and improve Wasatch Boulevard, improve trailhead parking and eliminate some roadside parking.

“We want people to know that we’re listening, and we want their voices to be heard,” said Gleason.

UDOT will have all of the details online on Monday here and the public will have an opportunity to comment until July 10.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Madison Swenson

Scene cleared after ‘suspicious package’ found at Layton Hospital

The Davis County bomb squad was called out to a Layton hospital Thursday morning after a suspicious package was found inside the building.
16 hours ago
(NASA Meteor Watch)...
Debbie Worthen

Meteorite hunters find what is believed to be pieces of meteorite boom

This group has found six rocks believed to be meteorites from Saturday's event.
16 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Lunch staff prepare for first day of school at Cache County schools

Casey Scott was back in the lunch room, checking things out at Mountain Crest High School where they say they could use a little help in the kitchen.
16 hours ago
In the last two elections women over 50 made up 30% of the overall voter turnout. (AARP)...
Ayanna Likens

Women voters over 50 are a crucial voting bloc in the upcoming election

A new survey from AARP revealed that women voters over 50 are a crucial part of the election turnout.
16 hours ago
Taylorsville police at the scene of the fatal shooting. (Taylorsville Police)...
Josh Ellis

Taylorsville police release identities of man, woman killed in possible murder-suicide

Police have identified the man and woman who were found dead with gunshot wounds Wednesday morning and say they are investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.
16 hours ago
(West Valley City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Police seeking info, evidence related to 99-year-old woman’s homicide

Police are asking for those spending time around the Kamas area in the coming months to keep an eye out for evidence in a homicide case involving a 99-year-old woman. 
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
UDOT Proposes Three Options To Ease Little Cottonwood Canyon Traffic