Pursuit continues in the Utah Legislature to extend a truck ban on the Legacy Parkway.
The 12-mile roadway in Davis County was completed in 2008. The scenic route north of Salt Lake City was originally planned as a wider highway to provide large trucks with an alternative to traveling on Interstate 15.
The project was proposed in the late 1990s by then-Gov. Mike Leavitt as part of a 120-mile highway from Brigham City to Nephi.
Environmental groups, however, were able to win concessions that led to the current four-lane design and a ban on trucks with at least five axles. A 55 mph speed limit was also part of the deal that is scheduled to sunset in January 2020.
The sunset date coincides with plans to construct the Utah Inland Port. The port planned for northwest Salt Lake City is touted as the largest economic development project in state history.
The nearly 20,000 acre import/export center is planned to accommodate road, rail and air cargo. The Legacy Parkway is expected to provide trucks with a route into and out of the port.
Multiple state lawmakers this year have introduced bills to extend the January 2020 sunset date.
The Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee last week voted against a bill, SB119, to extend the date of the automatic repeal until July 2022.
Rick Clasby, executive director for the Utah Trucking Association, said it is long-past time to authorize all trucks to access the roadway.
“We backed away from that (truck ban) fight in the interest of opening that highway, knowing that highway was necessary for the future of the state of Utah,” Clasby testified. “Today we feel like that was a deal made that should be kept.”
He added that the Utah economy is “based on trucking” and that “nothing is more harmful to the trucking industry than congestion or delay.”
Residents who spoke at the hearing said trucks accessing the route would lower their quality of life. They cite concerns about noise, traffic, pollution, and construction.
Clasby said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
“Nothing is more beautiful for me than a tractor-trailer rolling down the highway carrying all of your goods and services.”
Shortly after the Senate bill’s demise a new effort was introduced in the House to extend the truck ban until July 2025.
Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, HB339 is in the House Rules Committee.
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