Residents worry about losing homes in proposed Bangerter Highway project
Jul 11, 2023, 7:18 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2023, 2:13 pm
(Utah Department of Transportation)
SALT LAKE CITY — The debate over what to do next on Bangerter Highway continues as the Utah Department of Transportation gathers public input on proposed interchanges that residents say could cost them their homes.
The changes would impact hundreds of homes near Bangerter and some neighbors want to stop that from happening.
“There’s been tremendous growth in the past and that’s going to continue in the future,” said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.
Since 2012 UDOT has been chipping away making what they see as improvements to parts of Bangerter Highway. But replacing 10 intersections with freeway-like interchanges doesn’t fix all of the problems.
“It’s not simply a matter of getting people to where they want to go quicker. It’s a safety improvement and taking out those stop lights — it takes away conflict points where you see a lot of crashes,” Gleason said.
Right now UDOT is looking at a plan to remove stoplights from four more intersections between 4100 South to California Avenue. The project would need the space of around 300 homes — about 64 of those near 4100 South, which hasn’t been sitting well with nearby neighbors.
“I feel safe, this community makes me feel safe,” homeowner Sejide Muhic said.
Feeling, safe is important to Muhic, who moved here over a decade ago from Bosnia. “I was granted to stay in the United States as a victim of domestic abuse. I brought four different paychecks from four different jobs so that I can prove that I can afford this home,” she said.
Muhic said her house is not just a home. “When I walk in, that home welcomes me. Like, I felt like I talk to that place like to that house like it’s saying, ‘Welcome, you are safe, you are OK,’” she said.
She and many other neighbors have filed petitions with UDOT and have been voicing their concerns over potentially losing their homes.
“We would like other studies to be done to make 4100 just an east-west overpass with no major access to Bangerter,” homeowner Terry Draper said.
Gleason said, “We’re looking at that right now. There are some considerations, we would still have to move the aqueduct, which services the water for about 1.5 million people…in the valley here. And so there would still be some significant home impacts there.”
Gleason said although no decisions have been made, UDOT would work with each resident to relocate them to a similar type of residence.
People like Muhic don’t find comfort in that.
“There is no value that they can offer for my house that will satisfy me because it’s not about house. It’s about home and me feeling safe,” Muhic said.