Leon Harward, described in the “Salt Lake Tribune” as a “businessman”, wants to build a toll bridge across Utah Lake. The estimated cost, according to Mr. Harward, is $300 million. He’s a partner in Utah Crossing Inc., a “private outfit” but will not specify the origins of the budget for such an undertaking.
Which is not to say that Harward is keeping mum on his passion project. Quoted in the “Tribune” on Feb. 21, Harward refers to the project’s denouncers as “tree huggers and squirrel squeezers.” While I appreciate alliteration as much as anyone, someone needs to inform Harward that squirrels don’t live in Utah Lake (unless they were somehow eaten by the mutant carp that actually do live in it).
According to different article in the “Tribune” from Nov. 16, 2009 concerning public hearings regarding Hardward’s proposal, it was reported that at “most of the meetings’ nearly 130 attendees opposed the bridge.”
What’s most concerning, however, is the more or less unnecessary nature of the bridge. While Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, and other nearby communities are indeed growing, it is hard to imagine that the bridge would, as the “Tribune” reports promoters of the bridge saying, “serve a booming population that could reach a half-billion in 20 years.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah’s population as of July 2008 was 2,736,424, making the predicted burst of residents a matter of more than 182 times what it currently is. If Utah’s population ever approaches 500 million residents, there will be far bigger priorities for the use of $300 million than a bridge that leads to where already constructed highways and roads currently arrive.
All mathematical mistakes aside, let’s leave what would likely be years of ugly construction and eyesores to the constant repaving of State Street in Orem, and let’s leave Utah Lake to the carp. And the squirrels.