Salt Lake County leaders discuss plans to reduce Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic

Sep 1, 2021, 4:30 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 2:23 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — What’s the best way to fix gridlock in Little Cottonwood Canyon? The public is considering two options: a gondola or widening the road to accommodate more buses.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson joins the masses headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon during the ski season, but she said neither option is the way to go.

“To me it’s sort of like a Jenga game. If everything stacks up perfectly, every assumption plays out, you’re going to be fine. But you pull one piece out and the Jenga pieces fall to the ground,” she said.

Wilson proposed building user-friendly transit hubs, investing in comfortable buses, implementing tolling and carpooling, and using technology to keep people moving.

Snowbird general manager Dave Fields said a gondola base station built at the mouth of the canyon is the answer.

“It’s the most reliable way to get people up and down the canyon.”

Gondola cars would carry up to 20 people every two minutes.

“It would be a stunning ride up the canyon. Now you have revenue that could offset the cost,” Fields said. “People aren’t going to bring their inlaws in town and hop on a bus.”

UDOT’s other proposal would widen the road to four lanes, allowing buses to run every five minutes during peak times. They say both options cost about the same over a 30-year period.

So far, UDOT has received about 6,000 comments from the public.

“I live downstream from you here for 30 years. I’m a skier. And I’m certainly concerned along with 95% of my neighbors about the future of Little Cottonwood Canyon,” said Mike Marker, who lives near the canyon.

The climbing community has also been vocal about the proposals. Climbers are worried a gondola would destroy many boulders and ruin the beautiful canyon scenery.

Time is running out if you want to weigh in on this issues as the public comment period ends Thursday.

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Salt Lake County leaders discuss plans to reduce Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic