By Jeff Jacobsen
Online Content Manager
Construction on the pedestrian underpass at University Parkway and Sandhill Road has begun. Lane shifts will move traffic first to the north side of University Parkway, then to the south side, allowing crews to dig the tunnel. The underpass will allow UDOT to create what they call a continuous flow intersection.
CFIs improve busy areas such as this, the second busiest intersection in the state, by allowing traffic to flow smoothly and efficiently through busy intersections without the impediments of timed crosswalk patterns.
UDOT Public Involvement Manager Mindy Nelson said each traffic shift will be in place for six months, with projected completion December 2012.
With underground walkways for pedestrians, concern has arisen for safety in this potentially vulnerable area. Chief John Brewer of the UVU Police Department is planning for proactive engagement with the increased risk students will face in the new area.
While being aware of your surroundings is a necessity in personal safety wherever you go, Brewer is confident that the planned strategies by the campus police force would be sufficient for the need. The tunnels, big enough for police vehicles to travel through, will be well lit, patrolled regularly by law enforcement officers and monitored by live video, which Brewer called a “force multiplier.”
This underpass, technically property of UDOT but maintained by UVU since more than 90 percent of its use is expected to be campus related, will be the first of two tunnels to exist on the south side of campus. An additional pedestrian underpass will be constructed from the north end of this tunnel to the existing bus stop near the roundabout, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning Jim Michaelis. These two tunnels, Michaelis said, will significantly increase the overall safety of the campus population.