As the Utah Valley roads have reminded us, the road to hell is surely adorned with orange construction cones.
The state of Utah has famously set aside large amounts of money for road construction at the expense of other state programs. The legislature has made provision to eradicate the problem through a series of measures to reduce road construction costs in the future (Example: SB 229), but there is more that can be done to lower construction costs and thus reallocate the funds appropriated to UDOT out to other programs.
1. Better City planning- According to research done by United Way of Utah County, Utah Valley will reach the 1 million people milestone
by the year 2040. Surely more roads will need to be built by that time which means more spending for road construction. Utah Valley can avoid a lot of spending traps if it is smarter with its initial road building and future community planning. We need to create large enough roads that won’t need to be widened later on. We also need to ensure better accommodation of the inherent usage and wear repairs that our roads will have to undergo in the future. One way may be to set up more back roads and additional large streets.
2. Replace more semi-trucks with rail. Utilizing the existent vast railway system for shipping means less road traffic and extraneous roads. With Pres. Obama making such a big push for more nationwide rail usage, the state should appeal for federal incentives to improve its rail system even more.
We may be making room for progress and innovation, but if we employ too much of our resources into our roads, in the end all we’ll have to show is a vast expanse of roads that lead to empty schools and vacant office buildings.