Over the past year, the city of Provo has endured the presence of an occupying army of traffic cones that signal the continuation of construction projects that inevitably lead to longer commutes for students and residents. Even walkers and bikers, who seemed immune to the ill effects of construction projects past, have been forced to find different routes to their destinations as roads and sidewalks are completely fenced off.
Why is all of this construction happening at the same time? It turns out that all of the current road closures in Provo can be traced back to the same source; the Provo Orem Transportation Improvement Project, or TRIP for short. The project is a collaboration between Provo, Orem, Utah County, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transportation Authority, and the Mountainland Association of Governments to improve the travel and commute options for local residents.
TRIP includes the addition of a bus line (one that connects BYU and UVU directly), the widening of University Parkway to better accommodate the bus line, and the improvement of bike lanes. The project will enable more efficient access to the University Mall, Provo Towne Centre Mall, UVU, BYU, both the Provo and Provo City Center temples and the MTC. Ultimately, this will minimize the number of vehicles on the road at any given time. Less crowded roads help to improve air quality and lower pollutant levels in the city, as well as making the road safer to drive on.
According to rideuta.com, construction started in 2016 and is planned to be finished by August of 2018. After several months of testing, the new roads and sidewalks will be open to the public in early 2019.
When a drive that used to only take five minutes now takes 10 or 15, it’s easy to get frustrated. But before we attack the traffic cones and contractors with pitchforks and torches, let’s stop and consider the long-term positive effects of the source of our frustration. In the case of road construction in Provo, waiting at a stoplight for a couple extra minutes seems a small price to pay for a safer and more environmentally friendly transportation system.
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